Maintain Control in Bad Weather

by : dennis james

Driving in anything but the perfect weather conditions can be dangerous if you do not have a series of tips in mind.

Driving in rain, ice on snow is totally different from driving your car on a perfectly dry road because the amount of grip between your tires and the road diminishes significantly. Remember, the tires are your car's only contact with the road and any change in the grip can be dangerous if the driver is not careful.

The first and maybe the most important advice anyone can give you in order to prevent your car from skidding is to have the car's tires in very good condition. If you live in a state where the amount of precipitation is large throughout the year, make sure to buy tires specially designed for wet conditions.

The same advice is valuable if you live in a state where snow covers the land a large portion of the year. Remember, in wet or snowy/icy conditions the grip is tremendously low and in order to prevent skidding, you should follow this advice.

There is nothing safer than driving at slow speeds. Because on wet or on ice the braking distances are a lot longer than on dry roads, driving at slower speeds will guarantee that you will be able to stop the car in case of an emergency and the probability of letting the car out of control will be lower too. When approaching a bend, take extra care and avoid any sudden braking that could destabilize your car.

You should be very careful with all the car's commands: when steering (if there is ice or snow on the road, the car will not respond as promptly as usual), when accelerating (your car may tend to drive sideways if you accelerate too sudden and the tires do not have sufficient grip). Also, revise your driving style so you can anticipate the need for braking in time and you will not be forced to perform any sudden braking that could also destabilize your car from its intended trajectory.

Remember, in wintertime, there does not have to be visible ice or snow on the road for it to be very slippery. During the night, tiny water particles on the road can freeze and form an invisible, but very dangerous layer often referred to as "Black Ice". From behind the wheel, you will not observe it, but it will practically kill your car's grip. It is important to drive carefully and prudent for the entire duration of your trip if you will be doing any driving in wintertime.

The car will respond differently on ice or snow and it is important to drive at lower speeds so these abnormal reactions will not take you by surprise. The steering, for example, may feel lighter, as between the tires and the road there will be a thin layer of ice or snow, preventing the car from turning properly.

Another important element is to avoid any sudden braking, especially during turning. If you want to prevent your car from skidding, you also must pay attention to accelerating, as the tires may spin out of control, much faster than necessary. When this is done on an icy or slippery surface, your car will surely skid and there is little you will be able to do. Winter driving can be a lot safer if the driver pays attention to the road and the meteorological conditions outside when driving.