Driving Tips From The IAM - 50 Years Of Driving Road Safety

Ice On The Road

The recent tragedy in North Wales which saw four cyclists killed, including a school boy, is a chilling reminder of the danger of ice on the roads at this time of year.

Every motorist should take heed of the fact that when driving conditions are poor, it is crucial we adjust our driving style and increase our hazard awareness.

Anybody who has been on the wrong end of a skid knows just how terrifying it can be - and not just for the driver, but for passengers and other road users.

Even on a fine day when the road surface seems normal, ice can remain where trees and walls shade the road, where gradients are not warmed by the sun, or where wind sweeps across an exposed hilltop or bridge or where cold air gets under a bridge. Black ice occurs in patches, so it is very easy to be lulled into a false sense of security after driving for some miles along a road which seems normal. The only advice must be to drive very cautiously when the temperature is low enough for black ice to be a risk.

It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that they’re travelling at an appropriate speed for these conditions. You need to be confident that you can stop in the distance you can see to be clear, bearing in mind that when you apply the brake pedal you are able to stop in that distance. We should anticipate the road surfaces and the effect that they can have on braking or steering. The question is to ask is this: dry, wet, ice or otherwise, can you honestly stop in the distance you can see to be clear?

When roads are slippery, use the controls - brakes, steering, accelerator, and clutch - smoothly and gently to avoid going into a skid.

For more information about driving techniques, please visit the IAM website: www.iam.org.uk.

18 January 2006 Staff

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