Safe distances, correct braking and more: TÜV SÜD's tips for icy roads
Munich - The first signs of winter generally take the form of icy morning roads. These driving conditions are never welcome: not here, not today, not now! TÜV SÜD's experts explain how drivers can stay safe when roads are treacherous.
Keep your distance: When roads suddenly turn icy, the first essential action is to increase your distance from other road-users. To do this, never brake wildly; instead, reduce your speed gradually, applying the brake pedal with care.
Steering: Dramatic swings of the wheel and over-eager acceleration only increase your danger of skidding. Avoid excessive braking and high speeds at all costs. Always reduce your speed before going into corners, and steer in and out of bends evenly and smoothly. Moderation is also the watchword where speed is concerned; stay at a steady speed when taking the bend. If the wheels lose grip despite these precautions, cautiously reduce speed or, if necessary, apply the brake very lightly to regain grip as fast as possible. Drivers of vehicles without ABS should always avoid blocking the wheels! If the car is threatening to jack-knife, slight acceleration can help a front-wheel-drive vehicle to regain control. With rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the same result can be achieved by carefully reducing speed slightly or declutching. In both cases, the golden rule is: on no account brake if the vehicle is about to go into a spin.
Braking: Braking distances increase significantly when roads are icy. The best procedure for slowing down is not only to apply the brake, but also to use engine braking – taking into consideration whether the vehicle is a front- or rear-wheel drive. Most modern cars have ABS, which automatically prevents wheel blocking. If an ABS car still goes into a skid, continue braking until the tyres regain grip. Drivers of vehicles without ABS should avoid blocking the wheels at all costs!
Make the right choice:When snow or ice comes on suddenly, remember that motorways and main roads will be cleared first of all. TÜV SÜD's experts recommend keeping to major roads and avoiding byways.