6 Helpful Tips for Driving in the Snow

We still have snow in the forecast for Northern Ireland so it's always helpful to have a reminder of some useful tips for driving in and keeping you and your car safe in snowy and icy conditions. If you're in any doubt as to your vehicle's condition please book in for a Winter Safety Check.

Driving in the snow and ice Northern Ireland

Before setting off in snow or ice:

  • Give yourself at least an extra 10 minutes to prepare your car.​
  • Make sure your windows and mirrors are completely clear by using a scraper and de-icer.Don’t drive off with a tiny space cleared on the windscreen which you have to peer through.
  • ​Use your air conditioning for faster demisting and to reduce condensation on cold windows.
  • If it has been snowing remember to clear your lights – front and back – all glass, and roof.
  • Tip: to unfreeze a door lock, use a cigarette lighter to warm the key.
  • Drive on major roads which are more likely to have been cleared and gritted instead of the smaller country roads.
  • Allow extra time for your journey and be prepared for being late for work due to unexpected delays.
  • Remember to use your headlights when visibility is reduced.Use fog lights when necessary but remember to switch them off when visibility improves to avoid dazzling other drivers.

Passenger Checklist

Make sure you and your passengers are prepared for the journey


  • Fully-charged mobile phone and in-car charger
  • Sunglasses – to deal with glare from the sun or snow
  • Personal medication
  • First aid kit
  • Warm winter coat, scarf, hat, gloves and warm clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Sturdy footwear
  • Flask of hot drink
  • And if travelling with childer remember extra clothing, food and drinks.

  • And remember extra nappies, bottles if using, clothes, blankets and all the other paraphernalia if travelling with a baby!

    It’s also a good idea to keep a Winter Emergency Kit in the car over winter which could contain:

    Blanket, rug or sleeping bag Shovel
    Ice Scraper & De-Icer Torch & Batteries
    Snacks - chocolate or cereal bars Extra screen wash
    Passenger checklist for driving in the snow and ice Northern Ireland

    Driving in the snow and ice in Northern Ireland

    Driving in the Snow and Ice

    Some helpful tips for driving in snow and ice:

    • Drive and monoeuvre gently– this is key to safe driving

    • Increase your stopping distance
    • Make sure your shoes are comfortable and suitable for driving – dry shoes won’t slip on the pedals.
    • Avoid wheel spins by driving off gently in 2nd gear (in snow or ice), easing your foot off the clutch.
    • Driving up hill – leave plenty of room between you and the car in front to avoid stopping part-way up. Keep your speed constant and choose the most suitable gear so you don’t have to change on the hill.
    • Driving down hill – select a low gear and reduce your speed before the hill.Try to use engine braking as much as possible – use brakes sparingly but if you have to use them apply them gently. Always remember to leave as much room as possible between you and the car in front.
    • If you get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a car mat or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.