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Get a grip: Winter driving tips

2013-06-07 11:28

GOING SLOW: South Africa has been experiencing heavier snow fall in certain regions recently. The image shows a Cape Town street after a bad hail storm earlier in June 2013.Image: Twitter

South Africans never really had to be bothered about driving in snow or icy conditions,but these days more drivers are affected across the country.

The widespread snow in 2012 left many feeling as if they were learning how to drive all over again.
According to Tiger Wheel & Tyre it’s generally agreed that "climate change" is the cause of the increased frequency in extreme weather events and their greater severity. Some areas experience heavier rain and even snow.  Central Cape Town was ankle-deeop in large hail.


TWT's Joe du Plooy said: “Unlike countries that experience severe winters, we don’t need ‘winter tyres’ – tyres with a high silica rubber compound and special tread, 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 occasions when it does snow or the roads become iced we don’t have the experience or skill to drive safely. At the very least, SA drivers should be mentally prepared for the possibility of adverse winter conditions and have a game plan for driving on ice or snow.” So...
Here are some winter driving tips:
• Slowly, very, very slowly, is the best answer when driving on snow. 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 sliding. Then, if your car doesn’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump or tap the brake pedal to slow the car. With ABS you should apply gentle but firm and constant pressure; you’ll feel a light shuddering that is perfectly normal.

• If your vehicle slides on 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 drivers to ensure their safety by keeping tyres inflated to the correct pressure and making sure they have at least the 1mm minimum legal tread depth - but rather aim for 2mm.
Find the nearest Tiger Wheel & Tyre store from its website.

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