Driving in snow and winter conditions is not rocket science, but it does require a well thought out game plan before you leave your driveway. Intense winter weather makes driving treacherous. Ice, Snow, freezing rain, fog, and even the winter sun all conspire to make winter driving dangerous and difficult. With a gameplan and some practice, winter does not have to be a harrowing experience for you or your friends and family. Your attitude on driving in ice and snow tend to vary based on where you grew up. Below are some examples of what happens during winter driving and the tips and strategies for dealing with them so that you can get home safely.
The two significant things that happen during winter driving are oversteering and understeering. “Oversteer is when your ass hits the wall; understeer is when your face hits the wall.”
Understeer is precisely what it sounds like: your vehicle is not turning as much as you would like it. The start of that could be very intimidating, and understeer is easily the most difficult situation to control on a slick and icy roadway. Before entering a corner adjust your speed. Understeer is usually due to starting a corner by braking or speeding while attempting to turn. Front wheel drive vehicles often understeer with excessive speed or acceleration while taking a turn.
To most efficiently control your vehicle on a slippery street, you should be off the brake and the accelerator, coasting through the corner and employing all the tire grip for steering. Things you should NOT do while being in an understeered condition. Don't increase your steering wheel angle, because the tires have lost traction and the steering is only going to make it more difficult. Since the tires are slipping, do not hit on the brakes, and much more brake pressure will make it even worse.
Remain off the brake, and your best chance of adjusting an understeer is to lift off the accelerator. Since the car's weight shifts forward, it is going to load the front tires, improving their grip while you reduce the steering angle. This improved grip and rate that is slower should allow you to steer back into the corner. Remember that your sense of your vehicle's steering is critical: it must be smooth when you are under the stress of losing control of your car and trying to prevent an accident.
Like understeer, oversteer is precisely what it seems like: your car turns more than you want it. Oversteering occurs when you lose all grip in the rear tires during a turn. To steer clear of oversteer, correct your speed and to remember to be sensitive to the feel of the vehicle. If your car starts to lose grip in the back wheels as a result of this weight transfer, you must gently hasten to transfer back the weight. Remember to look in the direction you want the vehicle to go, and also be sensitive to the car's response. By doing this, you will be prepared once the car responds to your corrections to adjust the vehicle controllers. In rear-wheel-drive cars, ensure that the oversteer is not coming from wheel spin. Fix your accelerator pressure to get rid of the wheel spin or even start your vehicle in 2nd gear. In any scenario, the earlier you catch the oversteer, the easier it will be to adjust it. Smoothness and balance are the keys to controlling a car that is close to losing road traction.
Below are some of the point by point tips to help you along your journey in those formidable conditions.
- GET THE PROPER RUBBER COMPOUND TIRES - "WINTER SNOW TIRES"
Forget four-wheel drive, proper winter tires are unquestionably the most significant investment you can make for safer driving in cold weather conditions, and if you have a decent set, you will likely never need snow chains. Winter tires are all about maximising available traction. The 'coefficient of friction,' which ranges from 0 (no grip) to 1 (a great deal of traction). To illustrate what the numbers mean, a decent top functionality summer ridden on dry roads achieves a coefficient of just about 1, falling to approximately 0.7 on wet roads. On the ice, precisely the same tire is very likely to be more around the 0.08 mark. Rubbing two pieces of Teflon together is around 0.04.Winter tires achieve this additional grip by using a softer rubber compound that stays malleable at reduced temperatures, along with unique tread, known as sipes to wick ice, snow, and moisture away.
There are many great winter tires on the market, but when purchasing be sure you are getting actual winter tires rather than only all-season or M&S (mud and snow) tires. The tire is going to have mountain emblem with a snowflake inside. Gridiron carries a vast variety of Michelin X-Ice XI3, ContinentalWinterContact Si, Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, Dunlop Winter Maxx, Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c, Vredestein Wintrac Extreme S, and the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2.
- WINTERISE YOUR CAR WITH EMERGENCY ESSENTIALS (JUST IN CASE)
It is not just your automobile wheels that need winterizing.
Get your battery checked, fill up your washer fluid rated to freezing temperatures, and make sure that you always have at least half a tank of gas or more. Additionally, pack an emergency kit and keep it in the storage portion of your vehicle in the event of an emergency:
Warm blanket or sleeping bag
Two half gallons of clean water
High energy meals
- CLEARING SNOW FROM VEHICLE Clearing snow away your auto is not a joke. A brush is a terrific way to removing snow without scratching your car. You will want to keep some bits and pieces to clean snow off your car. A little avalanche shovel works well, as do stiff wire brushes and a pair of older ski gloves. A bottle of antifreeze can come in useful. Don't believe you can get away with only clearing the windows. You will need to make sure your lights are transparent so that you can be seen by drivers. Accelerate and decelerate gently and smoothly. Maintain the car in front and a small additional distance between you, and indicate beforehand of any maneuver. Adjust your rate before you reach the corner -- this is even more significant going. Therefore, you can keep the mild pressure on the accelerator and do not need to brake during the curve after turning. Just a little power through your steering wheels can help pull you through the corner, however, do not overdo it (it is more natural going uphill than downhill). All the snow is off the roof. If you drive at any speed, some snow left over the roofing will come off -- possibly slipping blocking your view as you brake, or blowing off to the windshield of the vehicle behind you.
- DRIVING ON SNOW AND ICE Drive easily carefully on snow and expect upcoming maneuvers - without any irregular braking or gear changes!Try to smoothly and gradually build momentum around the flat before the incline up, unless it is inevitable and doesn't come to a complete stop on a slope. Going use a lower gear to take advantage of engine braking to prevent picking up much speed and relying on your brakes.Pay attention to the upcoming conditions, and the status of the street ahead. Even if the road is mainly dry, ice can often be found lurking.
- IF YOU DO GET STUCK
Occasionally it happens. Fortunately, there's usually a way out. First of all, ensure that your exhausts are clear -- if they are clogged up with snow harmful carbon monoxide can back up the into the vehicle. You want to attempt and pull away gradually, preventing wheel twist; slowing ’til down you find more is much better than spinning the wheels in a blur if you are feeling you are losing grip. Often pulling off in inverse or 2nd gear works better than original.
In case you are well and truly trapped and not getting anywhere, attempt to 'rock' your car out: move forwards as much as possible, then roll back as far as possible, and repeat, trying to build up more momentum with each roll. If all else fails, use your spade to clear a path for your brakes. You could also take the foot mats outside and then place them under the brakes to supply some excess grip (any dirt or salt nearby may work nicely too). If you have cell phone, you can call for assistance
Here some additional videos and resources to further your winter driving education.
Snow Going: Winter Driving Tips
ow to correct a slide on an icy road (and how to prevent them) - Winter driving education
How to drive safely in winter
Bridgestone Winter Driving School