How to Winter Driving Safety and Equipment

Here you can get Winter Driving and Equipment, Improving tyre grip, Driving in fog, Problems of freezing and Reading the road ect.

Although British winters are mild for many of the time, a chilly snap always makes roads treacherous and catches many motorists by surprise. It’s important that a driver knows the way to cope in conditions of sleet, snow and ice, which his car is in good shape and ready to affect the stress imposed on it. Learn with experience the way to drive safely in ice and snow: some people are timid and abandon their cars before they have to, while others don’t make proper allowances for the conditions and end up causing accidents.

Winter equipment

Tyre grip is your first priority in winter, so make sure that all your tyres (including the spare) are in good condition and have plenty of tread.

Improving tyre grip

The best policy for motorists who are unable to leave their cars in the garage when it snows is to carry a set of chains or straps which can be fitted to the ordinary tyres when the going gets tough. Modern grip improvers can be fitted far more quickly than old-fashioned chains, but practise their use at home before you have to do it in a blizzard.

All sorts of grip improvers are designed to work when there’s a layer of snow between the tyres and therefore the paved surface, so take them off as soon as you’re on a clear road again. The raised sections which dig down into snow also prevent 1-1ae tyres from gripping well in normal conditions. you’ll ouickly wear out straps or chains on normal roads, and therefore the car will be uncomfortable to ride in. A worn chain can be hazardous if it snaps, for a bit of flying metal could hurt a passer-by or damage your car’s bodywork. If you feel that your driving needs make it worthwhile, a group of knobbly-treaded ‘mud and snow’ or `town and country’ tyres could be the simplest answer; they affect mud and fresh snow quite well, but remember that their grip in normal conditions isn’t so good.

Necessary additions

A vital piece of winter equipment may be a small shovel kept within the boot. aside from clearing away snow, it might be useful for gathering roadside grit to spread under the driving wheels if you run out of grip on a hill. Another idea for getting moving again if the driving wheels spin uselessly on ice or snow is to hold a few of sacks and a few tough string to tie them to the doorhandles. you’ll put them under the wheels for grip, and once you’re rolling keep pressing on until A level road is reached before stopping to retrieve your sacks; but confirm that you use enough string to permit the sacks to trail beyond the rear wheels.

Visibility aids

Visibility is vital , so make sure that your windscreen wiper blades and washers are in good order. Add a `screen-wash’ fluid to the water in your washer bottle to offer a far better cleaning solution which will not freeze, and make sure that all the car’s lights are kept as clean because the windows. The heated rear window fitted to most cars is invaluable, so buy a demisting element from an adjunct shop if your car does not have one. Keep an aerosol de-icer and a plastic scraper within the car to clear frost from all the windows; another piece of sacking is also useful to drape over the windscreen if you’ve got to go away the car for a few hours in freezing temperatures.

Condensation control

So many modern cars have complex heating and ventilation systems that it’s worth studying the manufacturer’s handbook to find out the way to make the most of the controls. it’s easy to get many heat to stay you warm, but confirm that you simply know the simplest combination of settings to keep all the windows freed from condensation.

On a cold or wet day you often see cars with a number of the side windows misted up, which causes you to wonder how a driver manages to ascertain properly at junctions; even worse, a few drivers even cope with wiping a smeary gap in order that they can see through the windscreen. Unless your car’s heating plant is unable to figure efficiently, perhaps because air inlets are blocked with autumn leaves, it should be ready to keep condensation off all windows. Condensation accumulates more quickly if you’ve got several passengers within the car, so it’s going to occasionally be necessary to open the windows a touch — just half an in. should do — to stay many fresh air circulating. Remember that it’s even as dangerous to permit the inside to urge so stuffy that there’s a possibility of the driving force drifting off to sleep.

Driving in fog

driving car on the motorway with heavy rain and fog

The basic lighting needs for your car for night driving are covered in Chapter 12, but it’s worth adding that auxiliary lighting is even more valuable in winter. Since modern cars generally have excellent quartz—halogen headlights , the foremost useful additional lighting may be a pair of fog lamps. check with a dealer specialising in your make of car what the manufacturer recommends.

One very valuable option, high-intensity rear lighting for use in fog (sometimes one lamp, sometimes a pair), is fitted to most cars these days, but if your car lacks these it might be a really good idea to take a position during a pair. These lights penetrate much further through fog than ordinary rear lights, so they give following drivers earlier warning of your presence. Since numerous cars now have these lights, it’s worth remarking that in heavy traffic in fog, especially on a busy motorway or dual carriageway, a car without them becomes harder to identify among all the brilliant red beacons.

A word of advice, however, because the use of those lights is greatly abused. Many drivers switch on their high-intensity taillights long before they’re necessary, perhaps in moderate rain or slight mist. Worse still, a few drivers are absent-minded enough to forget to switch them off again, sometimes for days. The dazzle these lamps cause when visibility remains reasonably good is very irritating and tiring for drivers behind. Furthermore, it’s possible that a pair which suddenly appears within the distance are often mistaken for brake lights. In short, use them when visibility drops below 100 metres, and don’t forget to switch them off again when the weather improves.

Problems of freezing

A few other points about looking after your car are worth mentioning before we turn to the techniques of driving on slippery roads. As winter approaches, you should make sure that your engine ‘s cooling system is topped up with a water/anti-freeze mixture. A lock which has frozen up can be thawed with a key heated by a match. Salt is very good at thawing snow and ice on the road, but it can also attack your car’s bodywork; hose down the underside regularly through the winter, and especially thoroughly when spring comes.

Skidding

The golden rule when driving on a slippery paved surface is to do everything as smoothly and gently as possible: this is often good advice for driving in all conditions, but it becomes absolutely vital when there’s snow or ice on the road. you want to constantly remember of the danger of skidding because the grip from your car’s tyres is greatly reduced.

A skid is invariably provoked by harsh movement with the wheel or using the brake or accelerator pedals too insensitively. When the road is slippery you ought to make each steering movement extremely gently, especially on snow or ice, and apply an equivalent brush to the brake and accelerator pedals. Skids usually involve either the front or rear tyres losing their grip, but sometimes all four wheels can find yourself sliding. Whether the front or rear wheels cease to grip depends on a car’s handling characteristics and the way it’s driven, but generally rear-wheel drive cars are more likely to slip at the rear and front-wheel drive cars are more likely to lose grip at the front. the foremost common reasons are cornering too fast, applying too much power and braking on a bend. the feeling of a car starting to move sideways are often unnerving, but the fear of skidding is greatly reduced if you know what to try to to.

There are many theories about the way to affect a skid, but the only correct method is that the one practised by experts like traffic police and experienced racing drivers. First, don’t panic and stand on the brakes in an attempt to prevent the car, as this may send the car even further out of control; stay directly from the brake pedal.

A rear-wheel skid is most commonly caused by applying too much power when driving a rear-wheel drive car through a corner. If this happens, the correct procedure is to lift off the accelerator to remove the slide-provoking power from the wheels, and steer into the skid so that the front wheels remain pointing in the direction you wish to travel. On a right-hand bend with the tail of the car swinging out to the left, therefore, you have to steer to the left to keep the wheels pointing down the path of the road. This opposite-lock, as it is called, will pull the car back into line, but take care not to hold the opposite-lock for a moment longer than necessary as the tail will swing out the other way. Pay off the steering as the car corrects its course so that you are ready to resume steering round the bend again. If you are too slow to correct the steering, the tail can start to act like a pendulum, swinging first one way and then the other, forcing you to apply opposite-lock in the other direction.

You must also avoid over-correcting the steering, as this can also induce a pendulum effect. All of this requires skill and sensitivity, but attempting to control a skidding car is better than doing nothing at all. If left unchecked, the car will skid off the road completely, or, equally seriously, collide with another vehicle.

Wheelspin at standstill

Even the simplest tyres can lose their grip and start spinning when the surface is slippery, and this will happen even as easily in summer mud as winter snow. This happens partly because the treads become filled with ice (badly worn tyres will lose their grip more quickly) and partly because water, liquid or frozen, acts as a lubricant between road and rubber.

When you find it difficult to urge your car moving, the answer is to supply only enough power to the wheels to urge the car rolling without causing them to spin. you want to use all the finesse and sensitivity you’ll summon, but not be so restrained with the accelerator that the engine will stall . it’s an honest idea to start out in second (or the second ‘hold’ on an automatic) and release the clutch gently in order that the power is delivered to the driven wheels with minimum force . Should the grip be lost and therefore the wheels start to spin, resist any inclination to press the accelerator harder to undertake to force the car to move. this may only make the wheels spin more vigorously and dig themselves down into the snow, making the work of getting out even harder . catch on wrong and you’ll find your car totally immobilised with its driven wheels stuck in deep ruts, when more sensitivity within the first place could have gotten you rolling.

You may find that you simply can move a foot or two before wheelspin starts. the solution is to release the power when the driven wheels start to spin, let the car roll back, dig away any loose snow and try again. If necessary, do that repeatedly by rolling back to the start of your wheel ruts, taking care to not allow any wheelspin which can deepen them. patiently and care, you would possibly be able gradually to win a ‘runway’ with enough length for you to create up speed and escape. All the time remember that trying to ‘muscle’ your answer by allowing the wheels to spin on snow will only worsen your predicament. Passengers can help by spreading grit, twigs, sacks, rags, an expendable blanket or maybe the car’s footmats under the driving wheels to enhance traction , but confirm that you simply are well within the clear before you stop to pick up your `tools’ and passengers.

As well as employing a higher gear to urge you out of a decent spot, remember that the very best possible gear is usually best whenever driving on ice or snow. this may prevent you from provoking a skid by feeding an excessive amount of power to the driven wheels. you ought to try to use one higher ratio than normal, but don’t let the engine labour unduly.

Reading the road

Whenever the temperature is close to freezing point , you must be prepared for slippery roads. it’s vital to know the conditions, and skim the road in order that you anticipate dangerous spots before they catch you out. for instance , on a frosty night when major roads are salted or gritted, don’t expect minor roads to possess been treated within the same way. Even on a fine day when the road surface seems normal, be aware that ice might have remained where trees and walls shade the road, or where wind sweeps across an exposed hilltop or bridge.

The notorious, and sometimes misinterpreted, winter hazard of ice should be expected on a chilly night, and for several hours within the morning after a chilly night. ice occurs where water has melted during the day, spread across the road then frozen again because the temperature drops after dusk, creating a surface like an ice-skating rink . The danger is that you simply might imagine the surface of the road illuminated by your headlights appears to be wet, when actually it’s icy. Because it occurs in patches, it’s very easy to be caught out after driving for several miles along a road which seems normal. ice are often very frightening and will be treated with the best respect.

Using your powers of observation can keep you beyond many of the problems which winter can throw at you, but just occasionally even the most sensible driver can find himself stuck fast along a quiet country road. Only you’ll decide whether to attend for help or to travel looking for it, depending on how remote you’re. This might never happen to you, but if it does you’ll be glad if you’ve got been far-sighted enough to stay a shovel, wellington boots, gloves and many of warm clothing in your car. You’ll keep warm, of course, by leaving the engine running with the heater switched on, but don’t make the doubtless fatal mistake of leaving the engine running for too long. Exhaust gases contain poisonous carbon monoxide gas (with no taste or smell) which kills if you inhale enough of it. Many exhausts leak small quantities of gas which are blown away unnoticed once you are driving along, but which may seep into the passenger compartment when the car is stationary. If already tired occupants begin to fall asleep within the warmth, you’ll imagine the danger. If it really seems pointless to start walking in seek of help, believe thick clothing also because the car’s heater to stay you warm inside, and obtain out periodically for a brisk walk to revive your circulation.

Summary

  • Make sure that your car is properly prepared for winter driving.
  • When roads are slippery, use all the controls steering, brakes, accelerator, clutch – even more smoothly and gently than normal to avoid the danger of skidding.
  • Be completely familiar with the procedures for controlling a skidding car: steer into the skid and do not brake. It is an excellent idea to take your car to a skid pan so that you learn exactly how to handle it.
  • If your car is stuck in snow, use second gear and a gentle throttle to avoid wheelspin.
  • Read the road to prepare yourself for slippery spots; treat the surface with the utmost respect if black ice seems a possibility.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top