The winter is behind us, I know. Many of you would prefer to hear more about sun and summer, but Emily Cole has still some last minute advice for you. Just keep these following points in mind, when driving through the snow next year.
All vehicles need to maintain grip on the road. This is necessary to get going from a standing start, to corner and to brake properly. It is absolutely essential when it comes to hill starts. Of course, under normal road conditions a car’s tyres are usually perfectly adequate for gripping the tarmac and providing all of the driver control that is needed for safe motoring. This is not always the case if you go off road or through standing water, when the grooves in the tyre can struggle to disperse sufficient fluid to cut through to the road beneath. However, the main problem with maintaining good road grip for most drivers is when they take to the road under icy conditions.
There are some things you can do about it, however.
Gripping the Ice
One of the problems that you get with ice is that it means your tyres simply slip around on the surface, making all sorts of maneuver harder. Braking distances can increase by up to ten times when you are driving over ice. Of course, most motorists adjust their driving style according to icy conditions. Slowing down is a good idea, as is indicating well ahead of junctions. When you try to pull away, wheel spinning can be a problem. If you have a front wheel drive car, then try turning your steering wheel each way and applying the accelerator slowly. Your tyres may find a little patch where they have grip and this can be enough to get you going.
If you are driving in icy conditions, then select a main road for your route, if possible, as these get gritted more often. This helps to break up ice and will mean that you find gripping easier. Another good tip is to opt for winter tyres, which you can get from most trusted tyre dealers such as Point S, These tyres have more natural rubber in them which makes them perform better, in terms of grip, at lower temperatures.
Ice and Snow
One of the problems with a layer of snow is that it can hide ice beneath it. If you are driving over even a very light flurry of snow, then be prepared for ice to be lurking. You should carry a winter car kit in your vehicle from a trusted source like Easy Life Group. Try to drive down the tyre channels cut into the snow by previous vehicles that have passed on the road. Again, fitting winter tyres can be good as they have more slots in the tread, which help cut through snow.
Remember to be especially vigilant for ice if you drive in snow early in the morning. The sun may not have raised the ambient temperature enough to melt ice in shady places, like high-sided country lanes. The air temperature may feel like no ice will be on the road – but it may well be.
If you hit black ice, then you may only notice it once you have begun to lose grip. This is because it is hard to spot on the road, particularly at dusk. Keep an eye on the car ahead and leave plenty of space. If the car in front suddenly swerves, then it may well be to avoid black ice – so proceed with caution on the part of the road where you can see real tarmac. In the event that you do skid, try not to slam on the brakes but glide, keeping the wheel straight if possible. Try to slow the car by coming off the accelerator until you hit a patch of road where the tyres can once again find adequate grip.