If slippery wintry roads can be a disaster even for experienced drivers, what do they mean for a newbie or somebody who hits the road in inclement weather conditions for the first time? Winter tyres safe winter driving, but they cannot think for you. Sometimes safety is about winterizing your car and those crucial decisions you need to make immediately while on the road. Car-parts.ie, the leading dealer of tyres and car parts, shares tips to get through winter safe and sound.
Simple physics that helps your car handle slippery conditions
- Slippery conditions occur not only in winter. Roads can get slippery in summer months as well. So you risk a lot if you drive at high speeds when it rains.
- Get your car ready for winter. Besides good winter tyres that are responsible for a reliable traction, don’t forget about a comprehensive check-up for your battery, oil, brakes, lights, windshield wipers, belts and hoses, tyre pressure, radiator, defroster and so on. Consider buying tire chains (if permitted by law) or snow socks for driving in the mountainous area.
- Increased following distances, lower speeds, as well as gentle braking and cornering, are key to your wheels’ ability to preserve ‘rolling traction’ on the go (stay in contact with the road).
- Tyres naturally lose pressure at lower temperatures (10 degrees temperature drop is equal to 1-2 psi of pressure loss) which translates into a slower steering response. In winter, check your tyre pressure more frequently.
- Beware of black ice shady, and thus, cooler patches of the road usually hide. Ice and snow stay there for a longer time. You should slow down when you cruise through the shady area. The same is true about driving on bridges.
Tips for safe driving on slippery roads
- The keywords to safe winter driving are ‘gentle’ and ‘slowly’. Start out gently pressing the gas pedal to avoid spinning the wheels. In inclement weather conditions, test the braking ability and steering response at the beginning of your ride. When stopping or taking corners, get ready to slow down sooner than you would usually do.
- Reduce speed when driving on ice or snow. We cannot tell you the safe speed range that would work in all cases. You need to figure out it based on the amount of traction you can get from your tyres.
- To avoid a rear-end crash, remember to leave a longer distance between your car and the vehicle you follow.
- If your vehicle is equipped with the ABS (the anti-lock system that prevents brakes from being locked), always apply brakes with a steady pressure. If your vehicle doesn’t have the ABS, avoid locking your wheels by braking slowly, using small gentle pushes.
- To have a good field of vision, make sure you keep your windows clean of ice and snow. It is crucial even if you are off for a very short ride. Check the condition of the windshield wipers; they must operate properly and be in good condition. Replace them if the rubber is old and cracked. Consider buying a special blade to remove ice and snow from the windows. Check the defroster system well in advance to ensure it will keep your front and rare windows clean during winter.
- Salt and sand are usually used to treat the roads in inclement weather conditions. These substances help prevent snow build-up and improve traction on the road. Keep in mind that snow-ploughs and sand and salt trucks move slowly, so make sure you keep a safe distance.
21st November, 2017