On the Federal Highway Administration’s website it shows that on average, 43 percent of all weather-related car crashes on U.S. roads are caused by winter conditions like snow, sleet, ice, and slush. Each year winter weather related car crashes result in about 150,000 injuries and 2,000 deaths in the US alone.
It’s pretty obvious to most people that winter weather can create large problems on roads worldwide for a good chunk of the year.
Here are some common sense tips and information that we like to remember when driving in Winter conditions:
AWD is great for getting a car to move when conditions like snow and ice might make it challenging for cars with a conventional drivetrain, but it doesn’t do much for braking or steering. So just because you got going, doesn’t necessarily mean you can stop. The same principle goes for hills and slopes, getting up there doesn’t necessarily mean that you will able to stop on the way down.
TIRES: It’s good to remember that the effectiveness of all-season tires drops off sharply as the thermometer drops below 45F / 7C. When temperature falls, rubber becomes less pliable and harder, deteriorating it’s desirable properties. Winter tires are designed to remain supple at colder temperatures. Also keep in mind that the further the temperature drops, the performance gap between between winter and all weather tires widens, regardless of surface conditions.
Consider that a properly equipped vehicle with winter tires can stop 30% shorter in icy conditions, and can accelerate to a distance of 60m in 25% less time than it would with All-season tires.
The fact that snow tires allow you to stop in a much shorter distance, in our opinion, should be justification enough to warrant their mandatory use in cold climates.
They seem to think the same way in Countries like Germany, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Bosnia and parts of Canada where snow tires are required by law during winter.
Other drivers: Your car might be equipped with AWD and snow tires but that doesn’t mean other cars are too. Keeping distance and adjusting speed when slippery conditions are present can help prevent a of lot dangerous situations. Just remember that posted speed limits are really only suitable for ideal driving conditions.
Black Ice: Ice can form when the ground is at freezing temperatures and rain or freezing rain is falling. The below freezing ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact. Refreezing of snow or water can also generate ice on the road. Black Ice is called black since it might be hard to spot when the dark color of the road comes through the clear ice.
Since black Ice can be present when road conditions appear to be clear, stay on guard even when the road is looking good and other people are driving fast.
Snow chains: Some regions require chains to be used under some weather conditions but some areas prohibit the use of chains which can deteriorate road surfaces. In case of extreme winter weather conditions snow chains might make the difference between getting to your destination or being stuck. They are relatively cheap and don’t take up a lot of space, therefore we think it might be a good idea to always carry a set when going out in winter conditions.
And finally we think it’s important to think ahead, plan for situations that might arise when weather conditions deteriorate. You can prepare an emergency car kit, dress appropriately, check weather forecasts frequently, have winter tires and make sure you don’t run low on fuel.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and above all that you stay safe this winter.