This week there’s been an icy chill in the air setting the scene for a freezing winter.

After a few easy winters forecasters are predicting that this could be an extremely cold one. That means that we’ll all need to get used to driving in ice and snow again.

Heading out in the cold isn’t pleasant, but there are some simple steps you can take to change your driving style and stay safe.

Of course, before you set off you should make sure your car is ready for the journey. Read our guide to winter-proofing your car here.

Before you set off

Plan your route

Major roads are much more likely to have been gritted so stick to them where possible. Check the weather and allow extra time if you know it will be bad to make sure you’re not stressed.

Preparing the car

Don’t set off before the car is fully defrosted. As tempting as it is, you need to be able to see hazards. You can’t do that if the windscreen or windows are fogged up or icy. Also remove any snow from the top of the car. If it slips it could restrict your view or that of a driver behind you.

Set up your dash cam

You should do this before every journey, but especially if driving in ice and snow. If you have an accident it will provide your driver with invaluable evidence of what happened. If you use 4Sight you’ll also get accident detection and a video and your location will be sent to someone who can help. They’ll then call you and send any assistance you need direct to the scene.

Driving in ice and snow

Gentle driving

Slow and gentle manoeuvres are the key to driving in ice and snow. That means no harsh braking, accelerating or steering. Go easy on the clutch as you set off, keeping engine revs low to avoid wheel spin.  Drive slowly and smoothly and turn the wheel with care when going round corners. Try to maintain constant speeds and avoid changing gear too often.

Stopping distances

Obviously stopping distances will be longer on the ice, but did you know they can be 10 times longer? Use gentle and even pressure on the brakes to come to a stop safely and leave much more space between you and the car in front.

Correct a skid

If you feel the car start to skid ease off the accelerator and allow the car to slow until you regain control. If you go into a spin hold the clutch in and steer into the direction of the spin to help the car straighten up.

Getting unstuck

Should you get stuck in the snow get out and dig away as much of the snow as you can. Then find something to give your driving wheels some grip. Even a rug or picnic blanket should be enough to help you out.