Driving in the snow and ice

A frozen windscreen is often the first hurdle on a cold morning – and the temperature doesn’t have to go below freezing for your windscreen and windows to freeze over.

De-icing your car

Attempting to tackle the problem, there are a couple of popular techniques to avoid. Reaching for your bank card to scrape away the ice, or pouring boiling water over the glass, could lead to a scratched or even cracked windscreen.

You could avoid the issue in the first place and invest in a frost proof windscreen cover for your car. These are cheap, easy to fit and will almost definitely save you time in the morning. If this isn’t an option, pick up a proper ice-scraper, and leave it in the boot of your car.

As a preventative measure, you could spray one part water to three parts vinegar on the windscreen night before you travel. We think this is a better alternative to a salt based alternative solution. This will deliver similar results, but could potentially damage to your car.

Resist the urge to force your windscreen wipers. If you try to operate them whist they are still frozen to the screen, this could blow your fuse. The rubber can also be easily damaged by scraping over the ice.

Using your heater and demister

The ice may be gone from the front of your screen, but inside of your car is still likely to be full of condensation. Set your blowers to full and point them at the windscreen and windows if possible. Switch on you cars heated window settings (if available) and try to be patient whilst the heater does its job. Switching on the AC is recommended as this will help keep the air dry. You can also wipe down the windows with a cloth to speed up the process, just ensure it is clean to avoid annoying dirty smears!

Stay patient and don’t risk a fine or points on your license for driving with limited vision. Needless to say, it increases the risk of vehicle theft leaving your car idle whilst demisting – something that has been heavily featured in the news recently.

Driving in the snow

Aim for gentle maneuvers, with smooth movements and no sudden braking, acceleration or sharp steering. Accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible. The reverse is true if you are travelling downhill where a lower gear will help control the car on a slope. Maintain safe stopping distances between you and the car in front, leaving at least double the gap as usual.

What to do if your car starts to skid

If you lose control of your car in the ice, drive into the skid. Therefore, if the rear of your car is skidding to the right, then steer to the right and vice versa. The most important thing to do is to aim the steering wheel in the direction of where you originally intended to go. Avoid the temptation to slam on the brakes and remove your feet from the pedals in order to allow engine braking to take effect. Early detection and smoothness of movement are vital.

By ensuring your tyres do not become too worn, and regularly checking their air pressure, you will give yourself a better chance of staying in control in the first place!

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cars struggling in snow