Prepare for Winter - Rules for Driving in Ice & Snow
While some may look forward to waking up to a blanket of fresh snow, particularly on one date in December, such a sight presents an obstacle if you must set out and drive. Grip in such conditions is a big concern, especially on ice where you can be left with no traction at all. Consequently, the slightest bend or the need to brake, even at slow speeds, can become risky for unprepared motorists on ice and snow.
And so how can you be ready for the worst conditions winter can throw at you? Preparing with the right equipment and learning some simple rules for driving in adverse conditions is key. Winter tyres provide continued performance during the colder months and are designed for driving in the wet, ice and snow.
But the equipment alone is not enough, the following tips can be crucial to ensuring you stay safe on the road.
Keep Your Eyes On The Road
A solid suggestion for any time of the year, but doubly so in winter. In this sense, you must continually analyse the conditions of the road itself. During a warm, dry summer day, you’re unlikely to meet rapidly changing conditions, but in winter everything can change from one stretch of road to the next. Winter tyres are an effective help for the whole cold season, also on dry or wet tarmac. The compounds used in these tyres become more effective at average temperatures under 7°C, affording the tyres increased grip.
When conditions cause low grip, braking distances increase considerably along with a reduction in traction and overall control. Should anything unexpected happen, the ability to safely manoeuvre means being more cautious at all times. Increasing the distance between your vehicle and others on the road and reducing the speed of travel, particularly on bends, is vital.
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Be Aware of Skidding
Pairing snow and ice with a road that slopes downhill is always very risky. These low grip conditions along with the mass of the vehicle means that braking distances are increased dramatically. This effect only increases with heavier vehicles, and is why even SUV’s and off-road vehicles should fit winter tyres even if they are all-wheel drive.
Choose Your Route
In thick snow, it is always better to take the path less travelled. In these conditions deep tracks can form, which will severely limit the ability to manoeuvre should the need arise.
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Easy Does It
Caution in all manoeuvres is key in ice and snow. Sharp steering inputs will cause understeering as the tyres are unable to effectively change the direction of travel. Movements such as these will instead cause the car to continue straight ahead, while more gradual turns allow for much greater control.
Being mindful of these 5 golden rules, while ensuring that you have the correct equipment for the season, can greatly reduce the risks you face driving in ice and snow. Tyre wear and pressure must be regularly monitored with the help of a trusted tyre technician to ensure you are safe on the road year after year.
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