Few situations are more terrifying that losing control of your vehicle while behind the wheel in freezing winter conditions. That feeling of powerless can certain get the adrenaline going.
We hear from the experts that we should ‘steer into a skid’ but things happen so quickly that it’s easy to be caught out. Once a skid starts you’re already in a bad place. After all, few of us are endowed with the skills of a professional rally driver. So why not try and avoid getting into a skid in the first place? Here are a few tips that should help you steer clear of a skid……
Drive at a speed that’s appropriate to the inclement weather conditions and steer your vehicle as gently as possible. Don’t make any sudden changes of direction if you can possibly avoid them as your vehicle’s tyres are likely to have minimal grip on the road surface.
With snow and ice on road surfaces braking distances will be lengthened considerably. So at least double the distance between you and the vehicle in front. It’s advisable to leave four car lengths for every 10mph you are travelling. Remain vigilant and read the road ahead. Anticipate and be ready to react to any potential problems. It’s best to use the gears to slow yourself down rather than the brakes, but if you need to use them, apply the brakes gently and smoothly.
Gentle use of the accelerator is always best when you’re driving in snow and ice. Accelerate and decelerate in these slippery conditions and you’re very likely to end up skidding off the road or into somewhere or something that you’d much rather not. Selecting the right gear is also extremely important. Choose too high a gear and you won’t have optimum control of your vehicle. It simply won’t respond as well during acceleration and braking. What’s more, it’ll raise your vehicle’s fuel consumption and increase engine wear due to unnecessary high revving.
Prepare For The Worst
Gaining experience out on a skid pan can help you in controlling a skid should the worst occur. There are plenty of companies offering skid control courses which can be found on the web.
Perhaps you need to ask yourself whether you really need to make that journey when winter is doing its worst. If you do, ensure that you are properly prepared for the conditions by purchasing a snow chain to gain maximum grip in extreme conditions. Think about fitting winter tyres which provide additional grip. After all, many garages offer a ‘Winter Tyre Fitting Service’.