Can you cope with hazardous driving situations

Can you cope with hazardous driving situations

29 Nov

By Gwyn Fennell

However, not every trip will be that wayis assured of being safe, and there are potentially many hazardous situations we can find ourselves in. Our latest driver safety article looks at some examples, and suggests what we can do to stay safe and secure. We also look at how Continental tyre technology helps motorists in hazardous driving situations.

An animal runs out in front of your car – what do you do?

Under no circumstances should you attempt to swerve out of the way of an animal that has wandered into our lane. Instead, apply the brakes quickly and firmly, holding the steering wheel securely. Treat this situation the same way you would for an emergency stop. Keep your vehicle straight, and let the brakes and tyres do their work to bring the speed of the vehicle down. With any luck, the animal will move out of the way, and you may not need to stop completely. If you do, however, Continental premium tyres help improve your stopping power, especially when the road is wet.


How to cope when driving in snow

When winter comes around, the first thing drivers should do is invest in a set of Continental winter tyres. Winter tyres are for the cold weather, not just snow. These specially developed seasonal tyres are now a legal requirement in many countries, and provide far more grip and security in the colder months, thanks to their special compounds which differ from warm weather summer tyres.
An alternative to winter tyres that are proving more and more popular is to fit all-season tyres, such as Continental’s award-winning AllSeasonContact™ tyres. These offer UK drivers some of the benefits and safety characteristics of both summer and winter tyres, without the need to change from season to season. While it’s true that optimal performance is provided by each of the dedicated summer and winter tyres, the AllSeasonContact™ tyre is recognised by the UK’s biggest-selling weekly car magazine, Auto Express, as being best in class.

Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Auto Express, said: “Just a quick look at the results is enough to show which was the dominant tyre in this test. No matter what the surface, the AllSeasonContact™ was on the podium… A great test debut that shows how an all-season tyre should perform.”

When you’re driving in the snow, it's crucial to remain smooth and gentle with the controls – and to use your inputs confidently. Use the brakes, steering and acceleration as progressively as possible, and if the car begins to slide, remember to steer into the slide to correct it. In low grip situations such as snow covered or icy roads, make sure to leave extra space between you and vehicle in front. You can never be too careful, or allow too much space ahead in cold, wintry conditions – and the wet, too.


How to cope with aquaplaning

Aquaplaning occurs when your car hits a body of water, because the tread on our tyres cannot remove enough water from the road quickly enough. As a result, they cannot maintain contact with the road surface. This means you lose the ability to steer or brake, since you’re effectively gliding on the water, instead of gripping the road.

New Continental tyres are capable of dispersing up to 30 litres of water a second at a speed of 50mph. However, this is when the tread depth is at its deepest level of 8mm. As the tread on your tyres is reduced through wear, their ability to disperse water drops dramatically, and this increases the risk of aquaplaning. If aquaplaning happens, you should immediately take your foot off the accelerator, press the clutch in, and avoid moving the steering wheel or braking suddenly.

Did you know that fitting the right tyres reduces stopping distances?

In hazardous driving situations, having an accident can come down to your stopping distance. Literally every inch sooner you can come to a safe stop is vital, particularly when the road is wet. The best way of achieving shorter stopping distances is to fit premium tyres, like the award winning ones from Continental.

Why? Because over the years, independent tyre tests conclusively prove that the quality of compounds used in the manufacture of premium tyres deliver significantly superior braking performance, compared to the compounds used to make cheaper, inferior budget tyres. And while fitting budgets may appear to save you some money in the short term, premium tyres are a long term investment in your life, and the lives of your passengers.

What do to before taking a long trip

Enthusiastic motorists love to take a road trip, but before you go there are a few things you should do in preparation. The first thing on any driver's list should be to check both the tread depth and pressures of your vehicle's tyres. Too little tread means you'll suffer from a lack of grip, so if you're below 3mm of depth, get some new Continental tyres fitted.

At Protyre we can look at your wheel alignment, another important pre-trip check. This, along with rotating tyres around your vehicle, will result in more even wear – and better contact with the road surface.

A full Continental road trip guide can be found here, along with additional driving information on cornering and driving in wet conditions.

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