Winter Driving in Ice and Snow

Some handy tips on driving in winter, with information on how to drive in fog, snow and ice, as well as links to information about road conditions...

Winter driving can involve snow and ice conditions; a vehicle is affected by the cold and snow and should be well-prepared.

Drivers in the Netherlands can expect to encounter heavy rain, fog, glazed frost, heavy frost and snow.

Breakdowns

In case of a vehicle breakdown, the Royal Dutch Touring Club/ANWB can be called for assistance. Their yellow vehicles patrol most of the major roads in Holland.

Traffic Conditions

The red sections indicate slow-moving traffic, white sections indicate free-flowing traffic and the light blue sections indicate that conditions are unknown.

Precautions for Driving in Poor Weather Conditions

Even if there is no snow on the road be aware of the temperatures, black ice can linger all day in sheltered places, causing hazardous driving conditions. If the temperature is below freezing ice may melt if it is exposed to the sun, and vice versa, ice that is not exposed to the sun will not melt even though the temperature may be above freezing.

Snowfall on road networks across the Netherlands is cleared quickly and regularly, and roads gritted with salt removing all snow.

Cold-weather tyres are recommended for the coldest months; they provide better grip in icy conditions.

Driving in fog

As fog can alter the perception of speed and distance, it is important to slow down and drive more defensively.

  • Drive with lights on, and if visibility is very poor, use fog lights
  • Use the windshield wipers to clear accumulated mist off of the windscreen
  • Check the speedometer occasionally as fog can distort the perception of speed and the vehicle could be going much faster than it seems

Standard recommendations for driving in severe winter conditions

  • Plan the route and check the weather and traffic before leaving
  • Even if it is not snowing, check for wind; in exposed areas the wind can blow enough snow across the road to close the route
  • Try to keep the fuel tank full; if a road is closed a diversion may be necessary
  • Most major garages supply and fit snow tyres. These are specially adapted with a thicker tread and improved performance in cold conditions
  • Always reduce speed in bad weather
  • Drive with lights on (low/dipped lights on if driving in snow)
  • When driving in snow, try to drive in as high a gear as possible to avoid wheel spin
  • When driving in snowy conditions, it is imperative to drive slowly and leave plenty of room between vehicles. Avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel and sudden acceleration and deceleration
  • If it is necessary to brake quickly while driving in the snow, pump the brakes quickly (even on vehicles with Anti-lock Braking Systems) to maintain control
  • If, when braking in the snow, the vehicle begins to skid, turn into the skid and stop braking. This may allow regained control of the vehicle
  • In very cold weather, park indoors if possible. Otherwise, park facing downhill leaving the car in gear and with the handbrake off (it can freeze)
  • In the winter time, always keep a blanket, food and water in the vehicle