Exercises

Keeping Cool: Sub-Zero Ice Driving Tests UK Personnel In Norway

British Army personnel have had their driving skills put to the test in sub-zero temperatures on Exercise Trident Juncture.

Part of the challenge for the 1,600 British soldiers taking part in NATO's Exercise Trident Juncture is getting used to Norway's harsh climate.

For Royal Engineers and Royal Logistic Corps personnel, snow and sub-zero temperatures make a dangerous combination when driving large vehicles.

Soldiers have been testing their driving skills close to their base in Haslemoen, two hours from the capital, Oslo.

The drivers were set the task of losing control and then regaining control, something which is only made harder on roads covered in snow and black ice.

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Exercise Trident Juncture is NATO's biggest exercise in more than a decade with 31 nations and 40,000 personnel taking part.

Colonel Nick Theakston, British Contingent Commander Officer, told Forces News that the exercise is "vital" to showing the UK can assert "significant force over a significant distance".

The exercise is designed to test capability and interoperability between the nations involved when responding to a potential attack.

There were a few bumps in the road for the drivers taking part.
There were a few bumps in the road for the drivers taking part.

"When you lose control, you have to accept that 'I have lost control' and just release the brakes and let it go," explained Steinar Myhre, the course's chief driving instructor.

"They learn and get better and better every time.

"Norway has the lowest traffic casualties in the world when comparing with the number of people living in the country.

"Having so many Army vehicles on the road, I'm hoping that we'll get as few as possible accidents."

The driving programme aims to help prepare the soldiers for their two-hour journey to deliver supplies to ground troops on the exercise further north. 

Dangerous conditions - the slippery road was designed to test the drivers' ability to handle the vehicle when it felt 'out-of-control'
Dangerous conditions - the slippery road was designed to test the drivers' ability to handle the vehicle when it felt 'out-of-control'.

Every day, 100 soldiers taking part in Exercise Trident Juncture are being put through a three-hour course.

Corporal James Court, 32 Engineer Regiment, said: "There's a lot of difference in what a little bit of speed makes to how the vehicle reacts on a slippery surface.

"So just adding 5mph doubles your stopping distance, I was quite surprised by that."