Get a grip- 5 winter driving tips to stay safe on the road
Typically only a very small percentage of South Africans have to concern themselves with driving in snowy or icy conditions. Last year’s widespread snow turned this reality on its head though as large numbers of motorists, countrywide, suddenly found themselves learning how to drive all over again.
Was this the result of climate change? Possibly. It’s generally agreed that climate change is the cause of the increased frequency in extreme weather events and their greater severity. In some regions this translates to heavier rainfall and when it snows, heavier snowfall. So if it does snow again this winter it may well be heavy, at least by South African standards, and widespread like last year.
Says Joe du Plooy Marketing Executive of Tiger Wheel & Tyre, “Unlike countries that experience severe winters, we don’t need ‘winter tyres’ – tyres with a high silica rubber compound and special tread pattern, that perform optimally in conditions of 7°C and below, in ice, rain or snow.”
“We are blessed with moderate winters, but on the rare occasion when it does snow or the roads become iced over, we don’t have the experience or skill needed to drive safely under these conditions. At the very least, South African motorists should be mentally prepared for the possibility of adverse winter conditions and have a game plan for driving on ice or snow.”
So if you absolutely must brave the ice or snow, how should you drive? Here are some winter driving basics to keep in mind:
Slowly, very, very slowly is the best answer when driving in snowy conditions. Accept that you won’t be getting anywhere fast and drive as slow as you are able to without losing momentum. If you do lose momentum, it will take greater effort for your car to regain it and greater skill not to slide the vehicle in the process.
Drive in a lower gear to improve traction and don’t speed up for hills – doing so will set your wheels spinning in the snow or on ice.
Keep at least three times your usual following distance to allow sufficient distance for braking. When you brake, do it gently and release the brake if your wheels start spinning. Then, if your car doesn’t have ABS, gently pump or tap the brake to slow the car down. With ABS brakes you should apply gentle but firm and constant pressure; you’ll feel a light shuddering that is perfectly normal.
If your vehicle slides on the ice or snow, don’t overcorrect by steering in the opposite direction to the slide, this will put your vehicle in a spin. Should your rear wheels slide to the left, steer to the left until you regain traction, before gently and slowly correcting the steering in the direction you want to go.
Even if ice or snow don’t make the forecast this winter, Tiger Wheel & Tyre cautions all motorists to ensure their driving safety by keeping tyres inflated to the correct pressure and making sure they have at least the 1mm minimum legal tread depth.
If you do need new tyres this winter, then now is the time to take advantage of the company’s awesome new Michelin winter promotion. From now until 6 July 2013, you’ll get free sound when you buy any two or more Michelin tyres from Tiger Wheel & Tyre. Buy two Michelin tyres and you’ll get free mobile mini speakers. Buy four or more tyres and you’ll get a free mobile Bluetooth speaker system.
To take advantage of this exciting new promotion visit any Tiger Wheel & Tyre store before 6 July 2013