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Fallen tree on the L3008: Hesse is particularly affected by the current conditions

Photo: Helmut Fricke / dpa

Keep your distance: This is the decisive driving rule for the car in snow and ice. TÜV Süd recommends three times the safety distance. That would be, for example, a distance of 80 meters at 120 km/h. "On snow-covered or even icy roads, the braking distance increases considerably," says Thomas Salzinger from TÜV Süd, explaining the large gap, according to dpa. "Even the best winter tires or modern assistance systems won't change that."

To get a feel for this, Salzinger advises a short brake test, of course only on an open road without a vehicle behind you. Caution is advised especially at traffic lights and intersections, bridges and forest aisles, because it is often particularly slippery here.

When driving on snow and ice, it is generally taboo: brake hard, steer frantically or accelerate vigorously. This is especially true for curves. It's better to take your foot off the accelerator before the bend and steer in and out evenly – and only brake very moderately.

If clearing and gritting vehicles are in use, they should not be overhauled. In front of them, the road surface could often still be dangerously slippery.

If the vehicle still skidded on a straight road, the ADAC advises disengaging the clutch, braking and countersteering quickly but sensitively. But: "If the vehicle no longer reacts, the only thing that can help is emergency braking." If the car goes off course in a curve, no hectic manoeuvres should be attempted, but the brake pedal should be pressed firmly and sustainably. "Remain relaxed at the wheel and only correct gently," says the ADAC. "In most cases, a few km/h reduction in speed is enough for the car to be controllable again."

Snow and icy conditions are currently causing dangerous situations in several federal states, and two people have died in accidents. Especially in Hesse, the situation is coming to a head, the fire brigade warns of danger to life. You can read more about this here.

According to the ADAC, if the road is covered with ice, for example after freezing rain, there is only one thing that can help: leave the car at home and wait for the road service.