February 26, 2024

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What is the safest way to drive in the snow?  9 debunked myths |  local

What is the safest way to drive in the snow? 9 debunked myths | local

A snow front is moving across our country today. So there is a risk of slipping. But modern cars are equipped with all kinds of electronic devices, and therefore it is almost impossible to slip, isn’t it? These mistakes and eight other misunderstandings about driving on snow and ice have been debunked.

1. All snow is equally slippery

incorrect. The amount of grip available on snow can vary greatly depending on the temperature. Warm snow is softer and the road opens more easily, so tires have more difficulty gaining traction. As temperatures rise, snow becomes up to five times smoother at temperatures above zero. When a tire begins to slip on snow at higher temperatures, there is a greater chance of the snow melting. This water then acts as a lubricant.

2. Dark spots on the road provide more stability

Not always true. Dark spots may mean the presence of ice. If you come to such an extra slippery section, stay calm and avoid sudden maneuvers. You can steer very lightly and slow down gently until you leave the icy section and the tires regain grip.

3. Rapid response is important

mistake. Everything you do on ice and snow should be done smoothly and under control: steering, braking, accelerating. On dry surfaces, it is possible to brake when cornering, but on ice it is safer to slow the car first and then turn. It’s a bit like walking on ice. Small steps and don’t try to run.

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4. All-wheel drive is a panacea

Unfortunately. Many people overestimate the capabilities of their cars, especially those who drive SUVs. The four-wheel drive system is especially useful for starting from a stop or climbing a steep hill. But when it comes to braking and cornering, all-wheel drive doesn’t offer many, if any, advantages.

5. All-season tires are the best compromise

Yes, but that compromise is precisely the problem. For winter driving, the best winter tires are much better than the best all-season tires. One of the reasons is a special tread design with extra edges. In addition, winter tires contain a special rubber compound that remains more flexible – and therefore grippy – when the temperature drops. The drawback is that the softer compound does not last as long as the compound found in an all-season tire.

6. Winter tires are always better than summer tires in winter

incorrect. At temperatures above 7 degrees, summer tires have more grip on dry roads than winter tires. Below this, summer tire rubber becomes relatively stiffer, reducing grip, and you’re better off with winter tires. In our country you may be wondering if you would be better off using a winter tire on those few snow days each year. Even if you manage to continue driving because of the snowfall, the entire country is still stuck.

7. Electronic safety net prevents slipping

Not always with snow and ice. Most vehicles today have ABS and electronic stability control. This means that the wheels do not lock during braking and if there is a risk of skidding, the car brakes the wheels separately to prevent this. But you shouldn’t let it get to that point in the winter, because it won’t save you from the snow and ice. If you notice that the stability control system or ABS is activated, it means that you as a driver have made a mistake. You should look at systems as sensors, not as solutions to problems. When you sense the systems engaging, it is a clear signal to slow down as the vehicle approaches the ‘available stability edge’.

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8. If the car slides: apply the brakes!

Sometimes yes, usually no. If the rear of the car is in danger of separating, a front-wheel drive car can be pulled out of the skid by slightly increasing speed and steering it in the direction you want to go. However, you have to dare to do this when the car is slipping. With rear-wheel drive, it’s a matter of carefully releasing or disengaging the throttle.

9. If something goes wrong, look carefully at the thing you don’t want to hit

Quite the opposite. When you start to lose control, look at where you want to go, instead of staring at obstacles you don’t want to hit. Usually your hands will point you in the direction you are looking.

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