Dutch Language Blog

Driving in Winter Posted by on Jan 18, 2017 in Dutch Vocabulary

January has been a cold month for the Netherlands with temperatures falling below zero. While the cold temperatures during the weekend are fun (sledding!), getting to work with gladheid or slipperiness is never fun.

Photo by Stephane Mignon found on Flickr.com

In order to be safe during these next couple of days of low temperatures, here are a few tips I’ve received for slippery roads.

Ijs afkrabben

The first thing you should do is to completely scrape or krab the ice from your windows and windshields. The ice reduces your vision and you can get in a serious accident. You also run the risk of getting a pricy fine.

Afstand houden

Keep your distance. It is important to remember that the slippery roads take you longer to break or remmen. Keep enough distance from the car in front of you to avoid having an accident.

Gas loslaten

Breaking is a tricky situation with gladheid. You should be careful when breaking to avoid loosing control of your car. Sometimes it is best to let go of the gas or laat het gas los, which is why keeping your distance is important.

Ver kijken

When driving, make sure you are looking far in front of you. You need to take your time to react so knowing what comes ahead will prepare you better. Sudden moves are definitely not a good idea for anyone.


If you can, make sure you get a set of winter tires or banden. These will help you have more traction as you drive on the icy roads. You can get all-season banden and zomerbanden (although driving with these in the winter is probably not a good idea).

The following is a very useful video (not only for practicing listening) from the ANWB or the Koninklijke Nederlandse Toeristenbond (formerly known as Algemene Nederlandsche Wielrijders-Bond) about how to safely drive with snow and ice.

This information is useful with cars, but I wonder, what advice is there for fietsers and gladheid…. If any you have any tips on what to do (or not do), please share them with the rest of us!

Useful vocabulary

Krabben– to scrape
loslaten– release, let go
banden– tire
glad- slippery
gladheid– slipperiness
rijden– to drive
remmen– to break
hard rijden– to drive fast
slippen– to slip
gas geven– accelerate
sneeuw– snow
veilig– safe
sturen- steering
noodstop- emergency stop
grip– grip

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!