Driving in adverse weather conditions is when the true worth of your driving skills will be tested. This means your reaction time, prediction of steering angle needed and adaptive nature will be what eventually saves you from a collision. As the weather becomes harsher, the hazardous event frequency rapid rises with it. Multiple situations which need to be averted will present themselves in a sporadic manner. Being a good driver with the skills to cope is all well and good, but having a car which is equally competent can only be achieved with the proper knowledge and preparation.
Health and safety before all else
You never know when you’ll be caught out by sudden atmospheric changes, so the first priority is to save life and limb. Buying a first aid kit would in the event of a dangerous accident, potentially save your or somebody else’s life, so this should be in your trunk at all times. The necessities like a jack, spare tyre, wheel nuts and cross tyre iron should also be neatly stored in the back.
Staying calm and relaxed under adverse conditions is a lot easier said than done. You mustn’t panic if your insurance doesn’t cover damage to your car due to driver error, as there are alternatives to spring dents with auto body supplies. When you learn how to drive you’re taught the basics of oversteer and understeer, however very little is taught about countersteering.You’ll be driving extra slow, and if the car starts to veer to one side, you should feel the car slipping through your hands, feet, and seat. By having a precautioned mindset, you will be ready to take action in a calm, confident manner. Steer in the opposite direction to the slide, and as the car’s rear starts to get back in the center axis, revert the wheel position to neutral and make tiny corrections; you should be attempting to slow down while you perform this. However, do not use the brake, as the car will swap ends as the brakes will behave like an anchor, whipping the car around. Simply coast along while doing corrections until you get back grip from the tyres.
Before setting off in the morning to work, if there’s been a heavy snowfall during the night you may need to change your regular tarmac tyres to snow tyres. Continental WinterContact TS 860 are currently the best the market can offer. The tread is in the form of a diamond focusing the grip pattern into the center of the tyre while pushing out the snow towards the sides.The quality of the design and rubber used is crucial, as the lower temperatures will cause most tyres to recede, lose their shape and become fragile.
Another precaution you can take is having a set of studded snow tyres, for the most extreme weather or if you live in a twisting road section. Finland is known for rally car racing, and one of the more popular tyres is the Hakkapeliitta 8 from manufacturer Nokian. Really heavy ice, can turn into a thick sludge during the process of melting, and mixed with grit and salt transforms into grave danger. Such is the seriousness, studded tyres were designed for exactly this kind of surface, and the thick slurry replicates large pools of standing water. Under such conditions without chains around deflated tyres or metal studded tyres, the car will aquaplane out of control.