Undertaking snow and ice is undoubtedly the trickiest experience a driver can go through. Therefore, it’s crucial to arm yourself with the knowledge and techniques needed to arrive safely at your destinations during the winter season.
Here’s what the pros have to say about driving through the snows:
- Always Stay Aware of the Road & Your Surroundings.
It is always easy to spot the most dangerous, slippery parts of the road when paying attention to the terrain you are driving on. Keeping your eyes on the road and studying its surface carefully as you ride will make you avoid driving into these slippery spots that will place you in the danger of slipping into an accident.
These spots are hard to spot as you drive into the shadow of a high group of buildings, a mountain, or a bunch of tall trees, so it is necessary to slow down when you are driving in such conditions even when the road seems dry, you never know what the road is hiding at winter.
- Use Winter Tires
Adding a set of winter tires to a vehicle is the single best traction improvement you can make to a car: It’s like driving on a dry road with race tires; it brings you to a whole different level of traction.
While all-wheel-drive systems increase road grip while accelerating, they don’t help you turn or stop any better. A set of winter tires will deliver increased grip in all situations.
Professional drivers suggest that you shouldn’t use all-season tires because they are more like “no season tires” and won’t help you neither during the summer or the winter… their suggestion is not to look at them for an easy escape.
Winter tires offer a narrow tread profile, which concentrates the vehicle weight on a smaller footprint for increased traction. So, if you find yourself in the snow every year, you can buy winter tires.
- When to Use Chains on Your Tires
Most of the time, you don’t require passenger vehicles to use chains for driving in winter, and experts agree that winter tires outperform chains in most cases. But you might need to keep your chains with you when you’re driving into a mountain. Of course, it’s inconvenient! But if you’re driving uphill and see people stuck and spinning their tires on the snow, they surely will come in handy.
- Keep up Your Vehicle Maintenance
If your car isn’t in its best mechanical condition, it will definitely give you a hard time in harsh weather.
For instance, your car’s battery could be working all summer perfectly but starts to slow down during the winter. Never wait until it dies! Get your car a new one so it can serve you as you’re expecting.
Experienced drivers agree that wiper blades should be replaced yearly – right before winter. Also, there are products you can use to keep the snow and road grime from building up on the windows. Never forget to clean your headlights and taillights. Also, check your cooling system before driving in cold weather (inspect your antifreeze and make sure it is free of debris and contaminants). If you notice an issue, flush and fill your system with a mixture of 50% concentrated antifreeze and 50% distilled water.
Next, using a Prestone antifreeze tester, you can check the concentration and ratio of your antifreeze.
- Keep Your Tank Full
We all avoid refueling the gas tank until it’s almost empty and the low fuel light glows. But it won’t serve you when you have a trip in the snow to areas that aren’t densely populated; a bad accident can leave traffic waiting behind it for hours, even on highways. It’s not a risk worth taking to stretch your fuel tank in such a situation; you might end up being the car with all that traffic behind it needing the help.
- Learn to Control Understeer
Understeer is when the front tires break traction and begin to slide first. This is the most common type of skid, caused by entering a corner too quickly and turning the tires too sharply at the same time.
According to pro drivers: you’re only driving to your car’s highest capabilities either when you’re racing or driving on a low traction surface like snow or ice. A new car stability control system will work to correct a skid, but in most slippery cases, it can’t do anything to help you get back on track.
So, learning how to control your car when it’s past the adhesion limits is crucial. A great technique to use would be slowly releasing pressure on the throttle, straightening the steering wheel, and waiting very briefly for the tires to regain traction.
Now you’re ready to buckle up and head out to tackle any treacherous road or difficulty you can face in winter.
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