Snow and ice on rural road

Driving safely in snow and icy conditions

Driving in snow and ice is never easy, but there are steps you can take to make journeys safer and reduce the risk of accidents. Before setting out, consider whether your journey is absolutely essential. If you do need to drive in snow and icy conditions, be prepared for the journey ahead.

Winter driving preparations

  • Plan your journey – Check traffic reports for road closures and remember minor roads are less likely to have been gritted than the major routes.
  • Prepare for emergencies – Keep emergency supplies in your car including an ice scraper; de-icer spray; shovel; jumper leads; first aid kit; warning triangle; torch; high-vis clothing; boots/shoes with good grip; food & drink; warm clothes/blankets; phone charger.
  • Before setting off – Clear your windscreens, windows and mirrors of snow, ice or condensation. Highway Code Rule 229 requires that you can see clearly out your windscreen and other windows. Prevent further driving hazards or dangers to yourself and other road users by removing snow or ice on the roof or bonnet of your car.
  • Charge your phone – Check your phone is fully charged before leaving.

Winter driving tips

  • Drive slowly and with care on all snow-covered or icy roads. Always stay roughly 10 car lengths behind other vehicles as grip is reduced and braking times are greatly increased. Anticipate bends or turning well in advance to reduce the risk of skidding.
  • Watch out for unexpected hazards. Snow-covered roads can hide potholes and dips, and even after ice starts to thaw, shaded parts of the road (such as under bridges) can remain icy.
  • Take care at junctions – Road markings can be covered by snow, making it harder to stay in the right position. Take your time, braking gently and avoid any sudden manoeuvres.

Useful links

For more winter driving tips, visit the Met Office website for advice on staying safe in snow.