When winter comes, extreme care must be taken at the wheel. Although during the winter the traffic decreases, there is a high accident rate. Of all the people who lose their lives on the road, 31% of them suffered accidents during the winter season. The slippery asphalt, poor visibility and imprudence behind the wheel can take their toll, so it is essential to know how to drive with snow.
To drive with snow is not only important to master the driving techniques but also to have good tires. When the temperature falls below 7 ° C, the performance of conventional tires decreases, so that off road wheels can make a difference by improving considerably the grip and reducing the braking distance. At 80 km / h on snow and with conventional tires you will need 63 meters to brake while with winter tires the distance is reduced by 30%.
1. Use the gear change intelligently. One of the most important driving techniques is to use the gear shift as little as possible. Ideally, use the longer and downhill gears, put a shorter gear for the engine to hold the vehicle. If you have an automatic car you must activate the “Snow” or “winter” mode since it improves the traction control and provides more stability on the slippery asphalt.
2. Tap the brake gently. One of the secrets to driving with snow is to stop the car using the engine brake. If you have to step on the pedal, do not do it thoroughly or abruptly as the wheels could get stuck. Consider also that with moisture the brake pads tend to lose effectiveness and remember that if you brake with the wheels turned, increase the chances of losing control of the car, so it is better to brake with the wheels straight. In case of skidding, do not lose your temper and avoid the impulse to correct the trajectory. Remove the foot from the accelerator and keep the trajectory correcting with smooth movements of the steering wheel.
3. Always keep the safety distance. Although you take precautions when driving with snow , you can always have a mishap, so it is essential to maintain the safety distance. Consider that with the slippery asphalt the car will not brake with the same speed and precision, so you need more space. It is also discouraged to overtake as sudden changes in speed will cause the tires lose grip.
4. Avoid excessive steering wheel turns. Avoid by all means the swerves as they could make you lose control of the vehicle. In the corners you do not have to turn the steering wheel excessively since you could suffer an under steer, that is, the front wheels will lose grip and begin to skid. Remember also that at the entrance of the curves, the weight of the cars is transferred to the front wheels, so that they press more snow causing it to melt, so it is more likely that the ice forms in that area.
5. Drive with the lights on. In winter, visibility usually decreases, especially when it snows. In that case, you must carry the lights on even if it is daytime. Not only will your visibility improve and you will be able to detect the ice sheets more easily, but you will also be more visible to the rest of the drivers.