How to protect yourself on the road in the off-season and in winter? - this collection of tips will help you avoid major problems when driving in the winter.
1. Change tires
We change tires without waiting for the "tinsmith's day", when ice is found under the wheels, and at the tire service there is a queue for two days. We will “change our shoes” in advance, when the average daily air temperature is around +5 - + 7oC. This is a sure sign that the temperature can jump over the zero line at any moment. Do not wait to the last - it’s not scary if, having switched to winter tires, you have to ride it on the asphalt for a week or two. The main thing is that frosts, "icy" rains (they are not uncommon at this time) and the first snowfalls you will meet fully armed! Imaginary savings on winter tires can result in a tragedy - neither brake normally nor maneuver. Add to this the general unpreparedness of drivers for “slippery” conditions. Remember, at weakly positive temperatures, summer tires "dubbed" and pretty much loses grip. So we look at the weather forecast for at least a week ahead and at the right time we go to the "change of shoes".
2. Correcting the behavior of
Moving on to a smooth and calculating driving style in advance, without waiting for ice and slush. Is it hard to force yourself? It is hard to learn, safe in "battle". The main safety reserves are hidden precisely in the behavior! What are we doing?
- Reducing speeds, increasing distances and intervals. The grip of winter tires, especially studded ones, is worse than summer ones by 5-15%. Consequence - on dry and wet asphalt winter tires are sent to the skid earlier. This leads to an increase in braking distance and an earlier stall into side slip when cornering. On the asphalt, to stop from 50 km / h, a middle-class passenger car equipped with good studded tires and ABS needs 15-17 meters, on ice - about 40 meters. For the same car on summer tires, the braking distance on ice increases to 70-80 meters, trucks and buses, "shod" in all-season, and even more. The likelihood of loss of control and skidding is greatly increased.
- After "overshoes" do not rush into battle right away. First, try to understand how the car's behavior on winter tires has changed. For this, it is better to find some free path. In the absence of other road users on the straight, make several brakes from weak to strong - "to the floor". Determine the moment when the wheels are locked (or the moment when the ABS is activated, if equipped). Evaluate how the car reacts to steering. Winter tires are softer and more pliable than summer ones - although they go into sliding earlier, they are smoother (they are more progressive). Steering reactions are less acute, but it is easier to determine the moment of the onset of drift or skidding. Due to the fact that the slip into sliding is smooth, the driver has time and, accordingly, more opportunities to correct his behavior and get out of the water dry.
3. Remember, there may be a slippery surface under the wheels at any time
The first frosts are especially insidious! It seems that nothing portends trouble: a light frost, it is clear, there is no precipitation, the grip seems to be good, you drive yourself - and suddenly you fly into a ditch in a turn.
What's the matter? Atmospheric moisture, condensing on a cold canvas, turns into a layer of the thinnest, so-called “black ice”. At the same time, the appearance of a slippery road is absolutely no different from dry rough asphalt. Fog in sub-zero temperatures, frost on trees and surrounding objects (the likelihood of their appearance near water bodies is especially high) are sure signs that the roadbed is covered with a thin layer of ice. All this is true, of course, not only for the first night frosts.
How to determine the quality of the coating under the wheels?
- Go to the car, do not be lazy - shuffle on the surface. A seemingly simple movement can give you invaluable information. I recommend everyone to bring such a check to automaticity, you will be more whole.
- Once you start driving, on a straight stretch of empty road, press the brake pedal sharply and briefly. A nod (or lack thereof), early locking of the wheels, reduced braking dynamics, activation of ABS will give the necessary information about what to expect from the car on today's trip.
- A similar situation, if you press the gas - the car, as they say, refuses to accelerate. In addition, slipping is accompanied by a characteristic sound from the drive wheels, an increase in engine speed and speedometer readings. To prevent the car from losing its trajectory under the action of lateral forces (in a corner or on a lateral slope), it is necessary to release the gas, then the grip of the wheels with the road will be restored, and it will be more difficult to disrupt the car in side slip. A car equipped with an anti-skid system will also not accelerate effectively, here the electronics will struggle with slippage, at this moment the yellow indicator with the "slipped car" will start blinking.
- The activation of the ESP electronic stabilization system in a corner or lane change (its operation is accompanied by a characteristic crunching sound from the engine compartment and from the wheel brakes, as well as a flashing indicator with a "slipped machine") in itself signals that a gross mistake has been made! That is, you have already thwarted the car into sliding, and the electronics, by braking the necessary wheels, returns it to a stable driving mode on the trajectory set by the steering wheel. If you understand that the system from time to time or constantly comes into operation, this means that you need to moderate your ardor and reduce the intensity of traffic. Here you need to understand that electronics may not give a second or third chance - ESP is not a panacea, it works within the adhesion properties of the coating. There may not always be enough time and space to stabilize the vehicle in time. The poorer the grip, the higher the speed and the steeper the turn you want to keep, the less likely you are to maintain a given trajectory. For an untrained driver, ESP slightly increases the chance of survival. Because the lack of experience and the physiology of a stressful situation will not allow him to do anything except to press the brake. But for a driver trained according to counter-emergency programs, these systems will become much more effective additional insurance in case, for some reason, negative behavior of the car begins to develop. The electronics "give" him additional time for active intervention, in addition, the very process of returning the car to a safe driving mode thanks to ESP will be more efficient.
• Bridges, overpasses, overpasses
The structure and bed of overpass bridges, blown by the wind, cool faster and freeze faster than the surface of roads laid on the ground. Bridges built over bodies of water are covered with ice faster due to increased humidity and fumes from the surface of the water. Many do not know about this "setup" of the off-season.
So caution and attention to the maximum - we follow both the oncoming and the passing ones. The tactic is as follows: if you see that there is a traffic jam behind the bridge or some difficulties, we begin to slow down even before the bridge, since it may be impossible on it. By the way, because of the bend, it is often impossible to see what is happening on and behind the bridge, so it is better to play it safe and reduce the speed to the minimum optimal in advance, so that you can urgently slow down at any time. Immediately after the icy bridge, it is also dangerous to brake - it is likely that the person following you has not read this article. Particular attention to metal joints of overpasses, tram or railway tracks - metal elements are cooled and covered with ice faster than the thickness of the asphalt concrete pavement.
• Transitions, intersections, stops
It is most slippery at sub-zero temperatures and snowfall where cars often slow down and accelerate - the snow is compressed and turns into ice, and the ice, in addition to everything, is polished by the wheels. These are places in front of pedestrian crossings, intersections and public transport stops. We keep this in mind, we brake in advance, without delaying the deceleration for the last meters. Before the intersections, we take into account that even if you have a main road, it is not a fact that a truck going across the secondary road will have time to stop. Slow down, look around, double-check - it will not decrease. Before starting on "green" wait a couple of seconds, even if they signal to you from behind - do not react, it is better to get under way smoothly, covering the right and left sides with other cars starting in parallel. You will be healthier.
• "Tinsmith's Day"
On "tinsmith's day", that is, when "it suddenly becomes slippery for everyone" and when the number of accidents exceeds all reasonable and unreasonable limits, it is better to refuse to travel altogether. Yes, you have prepared - changed the tires in advance, tuned in and aware of all the dangers. And what about the rest of the movement? And the communal services? And what about snow removal equipment? Why take the risk and get caught up in the "batches" provoked by other less experienced and shortsighted? The recipe is the same - we follow the forecasts, and when the "red day of the calendar" comes, we plan to carry it out without a personal car, if possible. Let this and, possibly, the next couple of days of natural selection pass without your participation. Plus, save time by avoiding creepy traffic jams.
But if, nevertheless, you cannot do without a car, remember - your task now comes down to anticipating and compensating for the mistakes of other road users, for whom the slippery road has become a surprise. Understanding, prudence and courtesy (the rule of three "Ps") are the main helpers who are on guard for your health and the health of others.
Visibility is the cornerstone of safety. While there is time, we check the performance of lighting equipment, front and rear fog lights and lamps, heated glass and mirrors. With the onset of autumn and winter, we spend more and more time in the twilight and darkness in conditions of rains and snowfalls.
We change the "wipers" if necessary - there is nothing worse than stains that blur the contours of objects on the road.
We stock up in advance with "non-freeze" and fill it into the system, without waiting for the thermometer to go into negative territory. Frozen water deprives you of good visibility for a long time - remember the dirt that appears on the roads and in the air as a result of the action of reagents? The oily film on windows and headlights is especially troublesome in the dark. In such conditions, try to "catch" dark pedestrians in the backlight of oncoming headlights from the environment!
If the water in the tank is still frozen and the washer does not work, you can “warm up” in a warm service or in a heated parking lot. Another option: you can turn on the engine, warm up the engine compartment and the interior, and also add preheated antifreeze liquid, alcohol, or just vodka to the tank - this way the ice in the tank and pipes will melt faster. Together with the "anti-freeze" we put a snow brush and a scraper in the trunk.
So that condensation and ice on the inner surfaces of the glasses do not interfere with the view, we activate and direct the air deflectors to the desired zones (the central air ducts can be closed), set a comfortable temperature and turn on the air conditioner, the latter in this case we only need as a dehumidifier. But if you do not have an air conditioner, to remove moisture from the glass, it is enough to open the windows a little, raise the temperature and make the airflow more intense. Attention (!) - it is better not to sharply direct hot air onto the windshield in frost - it may crack.