RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Freezing rain perhaps represents one of the greatest challenges any driver could face. Droplets of rain which come into contact with the ground and other surfaces freeze instantly. This creates a huge hazard as roads may look clear and safe, despite actually being potentially icy death traps.

“If freezing rain is forecast, put simply drivers should avoid using their vehicles in affected areas. Signs of freezing rain can be seen when droplets of ice start forming on anything it hits – such as trees, fences, on windscreen wipers and mirrors. Also if you have a temperature gauge on your dashboard and it is reading zero degrees or less and it starts to rain then you know it is very likely to turn to freezing rain. If this is the case, it will form sheet ice on the roads pain very quickly, making for particularly treacherous driving conditions. Rain can also freeze directly on to the windscreen while you’re driving, so keep the blowers hot and directed here to reduce the chance of this happening.

“If you are driving and encounter freezing rain, slow down gently and be prepared for your vehicle to lose grip and potentially skid. Hold the steering wheel with both hands, try to use lower revs by getting into a higher gear and avoid braking on bends by slowing down on the straight. Also be aware that other drivers will be encountering similar conditions so keep a large gap between yourself and the car in front. If you don’t feel confident driving in the conditions or if conditions worsen, find somewhere safe to park, be prepared to leave your vehicle and wait for conditions to improve.”

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