Please reassure me about driving on icy roads

(47 Posts)
DrDolittlesParrot Thu 07-Jan-21 20:04:13

I'm a nervous driver at the best of times, but at the moment I'm a nervous wreck on the icy roads. I have to drive my mum to appointments so it can't be avoided.

Can anyone reassure me about the chances of sliding on black ice, whether there's any way of seeing it on the road, anything I need to know? Can I find out if a road had been gritted? One road I have ru drive on is a steep hill. Presume this is even more dangerous ..

I live in the UK, on the coast. Currently the temperatures here are around 2 degrees in the day, zero or before at night.

Sorry, I know it's trivial to some, but I have so many sleepless nights worrying about it, it would be nice to put my mind at ease if I can, at least somewhat.

OP’s posts: |
fonscylitte Thu 07-Jan-21 20:13:04

Could your mum take a taxi?

DrDolittlesParrot Thu 07-Jan-21 20:16:26

No, she's in her eighties and very unsteady on her feet.

OP’s posts: |
SummerSazz Thu 07-Jan-21 20:16:31

Low gear downhill so the gearbox does the braking and not you hitting the pedal. Take it slow and careful and you should be fine.

DrDolittlesParrot Thu 07-Jan-21 20:17:26

Ah, should have said, I drive automatic ... can you make an automatic drive in a low gear?

OP’s posts: |
DrDolittlesParrot Thu 07-Jan-21 21:55:19


OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Thu 07-Jan-21 22:01:09

If you don’t feel safe to drive then she will have to take a taxi. How many appointments has she got? Are they something you can arrange early afternoon when it’s not so icy?


MiddleClassMother Thu 07-Jan-21 22:06:22

I have the same issue, I have a long commute to work tomorrow and need to be in for an important meeting. I drive a Range Rover so it should be okay in the snow, but i'm just concerned about black ice etc. When I was a child me and DM ended up in a ditch on the way to school!

DrDolittlesParrot Thu 07-Jan-21 22:09:22

It's her vaccination, mid afternoon. She really can't take a taxi alone. Other appointments are regular hospital appointments every couple of months, next one end of January I think.

OP’s posts: |
DrDolittlesParrot Thu 07-Jan-21 22:10:46

It's awful isn't it Middle. In a Range Rover you'll hopefully be ok though. Mine is a small rear wheel drive. I worry about black ice too.

OP’s posts: |
Seeline Thu 07-Jan-21 22:15:10

I would have thought black ice would've gone by mid afternoon.

My local council has maps of which roads are gritted on their website, but generally if you stick to main roads and/or bus routes you should be OK.

eurochick Thu 07-Jan-21 22:17:18

Mid afternoon should be fine. Just be careful. Black ice can form where water pools - patches here are towards the edges of the road mostly.

NoSquirrels Thu 07-Jan-21 22:18:57

By mid afternoon icy roads and black ice really shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Major roads will be gritted at these temps, but smaller roads obviously probably not, but really it should be safest early afternoon driving and if you’re coming back before evening. Look at the weather forecast for tomorrow mid morning and see what the temperature and conditions are - is it going to be sunny etc. Hopefully it will put your mind at ease.

HilaryBriss Thu 07-Jan-21 22:19:08

If you stick to main roads where possible and take it steady, you should be fine. First thing in the morning and after dark are usual the worse times, its colder and there is not as much traffic on the roads to melt the ice. Mid afternoon shouldn't be too bad.

HardAsSnails Thu 07-Jan-21 22:21:42

The key thing with driving on icy roads is taking your time, don't accelerate or brake or turn too quickly, leave a bigger gap in front to give yourself time to stop etc. If you've got anti lock brakes don't freak out when they do their shuddery thing (like I did the first time!) it's what they're supposed to do. If you've got traction control or other safety functions make sure they're all on. If your mum is an annoying or distracting passenger you need to make clear that she has to let you concentrate.

PivotPivotPivottt Thu 07-Jan-21 22:22:28

Would you be able to get a taxi with her? I'm also a nervous driver and haven't been driving long so when the roads have been bad I've had to avoid going out in my car. Its a horrible feeling being a nervous driver flowers

Saz12 Thu 07-Jan-21 22:28:07

Leave a huge gap between you and car in front.
Lots and lots of extra space for pedestrians cyclists etc - they might slip.
Make sure people behind can overtake if they want to.
Try not to brake. Do not brake whilst steering round a corner (unless emergency stop!).
Everything should be gentle and smooth.

OrangeBananaFish Thu 07-Jan-21 22:31:13

I always worry about driving in ice too. Every year at this time I look forward to March so I don't have to worry about it. The first thing I do on a morning is look out the window to see what I have to contend with that day.

As has been said, by that time it should be easier as it would have melted. Also stick to the busier roads too. Not only will they be more likely to be gritted, but also more cars to drive over the grit to make it work and dig into the ice so it will melt better.

DrDolittlesParrot Thu 07-Jan-21 22:45:13

Thanks everyone. I have to drive to hers from my home (half hour drive around junctions) then I'll drive her to the appointment, drive her home again, make her tea and sit with her a bit, then drive home around 6. Will it be freezing again again that point? She'd be so disappointed if I left earlier. I travel to see her once a week and she looks forward to it because she doesn't see anyone else. I'm her support bubble so allowed to travel to hers. But at this time of year I'm always so anxious about it.

Next week I also have to drive dd to an appointment which involves a very steep hill. I can't find a way round it because the area we're driving to is in a vale so obviously surrounded by hills.

The road I live on is tiny, so not gritted, but flat so hopefully it'll be ok.

OP’s posts: |
randomsabreuse Thu 07-Jan-21 22:58:11

If it's a regular thing and you have the budget get all season (or winter) tyres. Especially as you have a RWD car which is more difficult to drive in slippery conditions.

Black ice is more common after rain when it's been wet then cold suddenly. Just a hard frost on an otherwise dry night is less of an issue.

Nunoftheother Thu 07-Jan-21 22:58:38

Could she stay with you for a few nights (or you stay with her)? You could collect her and take her home mid afternoon when you feel most comfortable driving and then you could go with her in a taxi to her appointment.

DressingGownofDoom Thu 07-Jan-21 23:02:05

Just take it easy but you'll be fine, I've skidded on ice quite a few times (driving during the very bad winters of 2009/10, much worse than this) and the ABS has always quickly righted the car. Main roads will be gritted and if the appointment is in hospital then that's even better as they're extra careful to keep those roads free of ice so ambulances can whizz up and down.

LeroyJenkinssss Thu 07-Jan-21 23:03:08

If you’re this anxious as above it’s worth investing in all season/winter tyres - they make a huge difference.

At that time of day, it’ll be fine.

FraughtwithGin Thu 07-Jan-21 23:04:42

I drive an automatic and live in a country where ice and snow are not unknown in winter.
However, we are also obliged, by law, to have winter tyres (not that these help an awful lot when there is snow on the road and possible ice under it), so my car and I have done the "ice ballet" , but only once and it was fine.
You need to know if your car is front or rear wheel drive. If rear wheel, you need to keep some weight in the boot to enable traction on the road.
Otherwise, start cautiously and keep in as low a gear as possible for the conditions. I can change gear manually, even with an automatic, as I have that ability. Not sure how it works if you can't, as kick down might not have the desired effect ;-)

crimsonlake Thu 07-Jan-21 23:07:08

I had to drive to work in terrible icy conditions last week and side roads were really bad. I crawled along terrified, wondering if it was worth the risk and wanted to turn round and go home.
Basically drive slow, especially when going round round abouts and avoid braking harshly.
When I got to the motorway I thought all would be well, I ended up driving slow in the middle lane as that was the only lane fit to drive in with everyone else.
I think it depends how well your county is with gritting.
I agree the later you set out the better.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in