Yes, it’s that time of year once again in the UK. That time when, despite everyone knowing in advance that winter weather was coming, drivers are gripped with fear and an inescapable lack of ability to deal with driving or travelling in even moderate snowfalls. The press hysteria adds to the hype as they love a good story of the Brits paralysed with fear at the sight of falling snow on the driveway. And indeed giving names to this weather – The Beast From The East this year – makes us look even moire foolish than normal.

As we write this we are located here in Norway in the midst of our Ice Driver season. Today was -29c and all of the trains are still running as normal, the buildings are all heated with no burst pipes, Vestlia Hotel continues as normal and drivers of all ages are simply going about their daily business. Just a normal day.

So just why are we Brits so bad at dealing with winter weather? With more than ten years experience of operating Ice Driver in Scandinavia, we are well placed to consider this fact. So here are our top reasons why Britain grinds to a halt at the smallest of snowfalls.

1. Training – Chief Instructor Andy McKenna sums it up. “One of the biggest differences between us and Scandinavia is that we don’t teach ANYTHING about driving in winter with very little regard paid to it on our driving test schedule.. Therefore the first time a person feels a car slide or move underneath them is at the onset of a real skid and not in a controlled environment. Even if people were taught the most basic of car control techniques, it would save so many accidents and result in far safer and more confident drivers.”

2. Tyres – In Scandinavia, winter tyres with titanium studs are the norm in winter time. Each autumn, everyone switches to the second set of winter wheels and tyres they have stored at home in the garage. These tyres are, quite simply, the difference between night and day in their ability to grip. While winter tyres are becoming more popular in the UK, studded tyres are not allowed. And even when UK cars fitted with winter tyres and the driver has training, there is still the issue of being surrounded by people crawling along almost at walking pace, body tense with white knuckles and terrified at the prospect of the snow on the road ahead.

3. Acclimatisation – In the UK, with it’s maritime climate, the cold weather rarely stays for long. Often, as quickly as the temperature dropped, it rises once again and the roads are clear. This makes it difficult for someone who is a casual driver and blessed with no curiosity to acclimatise to the levels of grip. In Scandinavia, the snow comes in November and then stays until springtime. This means that drivers become accustomed to the environment and this becomes normal.

4. A lack of desire to learn – Quite simply, people who are enthusiastic about their driving and who have a desire to learn more are sadly in a minority. Most people view their car as an unavoidable transportation expense and chose a car with the same enthusiasm as choosing a nee fridge freezer – will it be reliable, with it do what I want it to do? And whilst we accept that not everyone can be as passionate and indeed geeky about the art of driving as ourselves, it is a shame that drivers are not more curious about expanding thier own personal skills, both for the satisfaction and also for pride, their personal safety and that of their loved ones who travel with them.

You don’t have to spend the sums required to travel here to Ice Driver if you wish to become a more confident winter driver. Most of Ice Drivers guests are here not because they hate winter driving. They come because they love it and want to use our facilities to polish their high performance driving skills.

For those less passionate, there are many skid pan courses and other driving courses you can invest in that will help you become a better driver. And if you’re already an ethusiastic driver and genuinely wish to take your driving to a higher level than ever before, you owe it to yourself to get in touch with us.

We dearly wish you would. Because here in Norway right now, we are the butt of so many Norwegian jokes as we watch the news each evening with our friends here that it is becoming a little wearing!

Come on Britain, learn some skills and be proud of them!