Driving on ice? Read our tips

Posted on Dec 19 2012 - 4:17pm by admin

Polar HiluxDriving at winter always needs some thought – but checking your tyres and screenwash and filling your car with sensible supplies is the easy bit.

We can’t all have a Polar Hilux – so read our winter driving tips

Read our tips to make sure you know how to handle your car when the temperature drops.

(Whether you have winter tyres fitted or not, the driving principles are the same – but you will have more physical grip with a good set of winter tyres.)

1. Understand that in a front wheel drive car (most cars, such as Aygo, Auris or Avensis are front-wheel drive), too much throttle will make the car understeer – resulting in the car not turning as much as it would with a normal amount of grip.

2. With a rear wheel drive car (such as GT86) too much throttle will cause oversteer – the car will tend to slide from the rear and turn the car more than it should.

3. When snow is on the ground, traction control will be working overtime, and can get hot. It may be a good idea to turn this off periodically if the conditions allow.

4. ABS cannot be turned off – but be aware it doesn’t work at speeds below 3 mph (approximately). If it’s very slippery and you’re going downhill it is advisable to keep below this speed, otherwise if the ABS starts operating you could actually speed up and lose control.

5. Try not to panic if you start to skid. Admittedly, this can be difficult!

6. Don’t forget that bridges can be especially icy as the wind and air gets under the road as well as on top of it.

7. If you’re reversing downhill you will want to brake with your foot, but this can lock the front wheels, reducing steering ability. Use the parking brake gently if it works on the rear wheels (most cars do) – you will then slow down but you will also be able to steer. This is not possible with electrically operated parking brakes as the car will put it on fully so the wheels will lock and skid. This is also harder to control with a foot operated parking brake.

8. If you have a pre-crash system, keep snow of off your car’s radar sensor as this will stop it operating.

9. Be gentle with the clutch, and power will be delivered to the wheels more smoothly, reducing the chance of skidding.

10. If your car has a snow / ice button, use it! (This will reduce torque to the driven wheels and then there will be less chance of wheelspin).

Good luck in the coming winter months are remember to stay safe!

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