When are icy roads most dangerous?

Icy roads are dangerous at any time, and extra care should be taken when driving on them; however, there are certain types of roads, and certain points in the road where it is more dangerous. We have comprised a top ten list of the most dangerous icy roads, and where they are likely to be. For more information, check out ’10 tips for staying safe when driving in the snow’ and ’10 tips for staying safe this winter’.

1) Low traffic roads

Quieter roads are more dangerous in icy condition for a few reasons. Smaller, more minor roads are far less likely to be gritted than major, busy roads, meaning the ice can remain untouched. Not only this, but snow and ice has a much greater chance of accumulating on quieter roads less used by cars, so special care should be taken and in severe weather, these roads should be avoided.

2) Cobbled roads, and brick pavement

If you have a bricked driveway, or have to drive down a cobbled street, precautions should be taken, as this is an area that can get very dangerous when icy. Pavements have the tendency to ice over very quickly, so bear this in mind if you have to cross a pavement to get onto a main road (such as a driveway). The gaps in cobbles, allow cold air to infiltrate downwards, causing a build-up of ice.

3) Steep hills

This is a fairly obviously one, but steep hills become very dangerous in icy conditions. In very icy conditions try and avoid steep, hilly areas if there is a chance that they have not been gritted. Lots of ice on the road will reduce friction between the tyres and the road surface, which can lead to a car not being able to slow or stop on the hill.

4) Curves in the road

Curves should be taken very carefully, to ensure that you have full control of the car. Do not enter a sharp bend too quickly, as the act of steering can easily cause the back of the car to slide. If you feel yourself losing control of the car, and you skid, turn into the skid, and not in the opposite direction. Again, avoid smaller roads, which are less likely to have been gritted..

5) Motorways

Although motorways are likely to be gritted and will have more cars travelling on them, this does not mean that they are not dangerous in icy conditions. Traffic moves extremely quickly on a motorway and can quickly become congested. When you are travelling at higher speeds, you can lose control and slide much more easily.

6) Acceleration spots

The places that require more acceleration become danger areas in icy conditions. This includes hills where you are travelling uphill, as well as speed bumps. You are more likely to cause a wheel spin in these areas, which, in icy conditions can easily result in a loss of control

7) Deceleration spots

Similarly, deceleration spots can be equally as dangerous. Any area that requires braking can be a hotspot for accidents. This includes, traffic lights, steep hills again and sharp curves. Braking, just light accelerating can cause the car to skid, easily resulting in the car losing control. Remember, if you are driving in icy conditions, do not brake suddenly and harshly

8) Bridges

Bridges really are one of the most dangerous places in icy conditions. Any elevated bridges or roads, will collect a lot more ice and snow long before any other roads. If you have been driving along un-iced roads, an icy bridge can take you completely by surprise. If you know the temperature has dropped, be aware when driving over raised roads or bridges, as it is likely that they will be icy.

9) Tunnels

Whilst tunnels may seem protected from the ice, as they are undercover, this is not true. Ground water can continuously be seeping into the tunnel, which can then freeze in sub-zero conditions, even if there has been no rain. If you are driving through a long tunnel as well, weather conditions can be completely different upon exiting, which can often take drivers by surprise.

10) Mountainous regions

Slight elevation can cause weather conditions to vary dramatically, which means the driving conditions can be very different one minute to the next. Be prepared to face treacherous conditions when driving up a mountain, and taken necessary precautions. Be alert in the changing weather conditions and be prepared for rapid changes in road conditions. For snow clearing and gritting services contact UK Gritting.