Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 9th January 2024

Remember This 20-Second Rule When Driving On Icy Roads

Image Credit: Unsplash
Image Credit: Unsplash
Drivers have been warned against hitting the brakes on icy roads as temperatures drop across the UK. have told motorists what to do when driving in icy weather as conditions worsen.

Almost a quarter of UK motorists have been involved in an accident when travelling in severe winter weather.

It takes a vehicle ten times longer to stop on icy roads, which means the stopping distance could be almost half a mile if travelling at 70mph. Drivers must keep at least 20 seconds behind the car in front.

Transparent black ice poses an extreme risk to drivers as it is near invisible and catches motorists off guard, preventing proper tyre grip and hindering the effectiveness of brakes.

An increased follow distance and avoiding sudden braking is essential advice to follow during icy conditions.

Tim Alcock from said:
“Drivers are extremely vulnerable when the roads are icy, so they must take extra precautions to keep safe.

“Ice is one of the biggest hazards when the temperatures drop, and even the smallest amount on the road can be extremely dangerous for both motorists and pedestrians.

“Although it goes against basic instincts, braking is actually one of the worst things drivers can do and it won’t stop a vehicle from moving on icy roads.

“Important advice to follow in icy conditions includes keeping a 20-second gap from the vehicle in front and pre-checking tyre grip."

Five tips to drive safely in icy conditions:

Maintain control

Drive at a slow speed and in a higher gear to retain as much control of the car as possible. It is also important not to brake or accelerate too quickly, avoiding overtaking needlessly or turning sharply around corners where a loss of control is more likely to occur.

Check grip

By law, the minimum tyre tread depth in the UK is 1.6 mm, but for optimum grip it is advised not to go below 4 mm in winter conditions. Drivers can also check grip by choosing a safe place to brake gently, and if the steering feels unresponsive it could indicate something is wrong.

20-second rule

An important winter tip to remember when it’s icy is to travel at a longer distance from the car in front. The usual two-second rule should be multiplied by ten because braking could take the equivalent of up to half a mile to actually stop.

Foot off the brake

Braking a vehicle can send it into a skid or lock the wheels when travelling on ice. Instead, motorists should move into a lower gear to slow down.


If a vehicle starts to skid on ice, slowly turn the wheel in the direction of the slide while removing the foot from the accelerator. If skidding to the right, turn to the right and if skidding to the left, turn to the left. Once the car starts to level out, gently straighten the wheel.

To find out more about how to drive safely on ice click here