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A car accident during winter driving can be avoided by taking some precautions. Below we will analyze the driving behavior that each driver must demonstrate regardless of experience, so that he does not suddenly stop on the road and in this way cause a car accident. Here are some helpful tips for dealing with the dangers that lurk.
Various scientific studies* showed that road safety in winter so as not to cause a car accident depends to a large extent on the four lanes of the tire (ie the so-called tire tread).
According to the above studies and statistics, the risk of a car accident while driving is six times higher.
For this reason, it is recommended to change to winter tires or at least check your old tires.
Because the contact surface of the tire determines the stability of the vehicle, especially when driving on wet roads (cf.Learn the 2 basic precautions before driving on wet roads), winter tire placement when traveling during the winter is imperative and not just for snow.
Due to special profile (deep side sole grooves, compact lateral 'heels' and dense micro-cracks), winter tires are absolutely essential for safe driving in cold, bad weather.
What is the difference between winter tires and common tires, and how important is it to avoid a car accident while driving in winter?
Common tires tend to harden or shine as soon as temperatures drop. On the contrary, the rubber of the winter tires remains flexible, even at temperatures below zero.
This means that they can achieve significantly greater traction on dry roads, resulting in improved driving control and reduced braking and immobilization distances while driving. (cf. What is the correct safety distance between 2 vehicles with numbers). compared to common tires during the winter.
Simply put, winter tires due to the numerous 'micro-cracks' create some traction edges which are essentially 'pinned' in the snow, mud or ice below seven (7) degrees Celsius, resulting in better traction.
In addition, it is worth noting that the systems of a vehicle such as ABS (Anti-lock braking system) and ESP (Electronic stability program) can only work if the tires transfer the deceleration power from the car to the roadway.
That's why the most suitable tires, to avoid a car accident during winter driving, are considered tires with the indication (M + S) on the side wall and the snowflake symbol. These indications confirm that the tire has been successfully tested in winter conditions.
However, as winter tires are subject to wear and tear, they only work perfectly within certain wear and age limits. The new winter tires have a tread depth of 8 mm, while the minimum allowable is 1,6 mm. For safety reasons, winter tires must have a tread depth of at least 4 mm.
A particularly practical method of measuring the tread depth of your tires is to check with a coin.
If the tip of the coin disappears between the 'heels', then the tire is in good condition.
The age of each tire can be determined from the date of manufacture, by a mandatory four-digit indication on the side wall (DOT 1115), which means 11th week of 2015.
It is noteworthy that when you need to change a tire does not depend only on the date of manufacture. (The dominant expression is not always valid every 4 years) but also from the depth of the sole, the hardening of the rubber, etc.
What do we need to know to avoid having a car accident while driving in the winter?
It is always necessary, but especially when driving in winter, we must impose ourselves. We must learn not to drive aggressively, even when the road is slippery and we do not know what we will encounter.
There is always the possibility that there are immobilized vehicles after a turn, agricultural vehicles moving at a very low speed, animals that suddenly cross the road, etc.
In addition, the tranquility in the car is essential, as is the complete avoidance of irritation, while the music must be at normal volume levels.
Therefore, all of the above in combination with the absolute concentration we need to have on the road, will enable us to successfully deal with unexpected situations and avoid possible involvement in a car accident.
What checks should we make on our vehicle while driving in the winter and especially before a trip?
It is necessary to check the following sections / points of the car in order for our route in the winter months to be done safely and reliably without affecting the condition of the car and its occupants.
1. Winter Tires
We first check if the tires are in good condition (tread depth greater than 1,6 mm specified by K.O.K.) and the pressure is what the car manufacturer defines.
In case we are constantly moving in areas with bad weather or snow, we definitely choose winter tires.
Finally, winter tires need to be stored properly to be able to pass unnoticed during the summer months. An easy and quick solution is to leave them at the tire store where we bought them.
2. Non-slip Snow Chains
We must have the non-slip snow chains with us on a permanent basis. Snow chains are placed exclusively on the shaft (or on both axes) of the wheels exactly as recommended by the manufacturer of each car alone, which is mentioned in detail in the instruction-maintenance book.
At this point it should be emphasized that winter tires do not restore the above snow chains while driving in mountainous areas.
How many types of anti-skid snow chains are there in the Greek market?
The non-slip systems that are circulating are the traditional chains, the snow blankets - socks - sails, the rubber chains and the special systems.
The system we choose should meet three conditions to be of high standards, to be the right number for our tires and to know very well how to install it and how to remove it from the tires.
It is quite important during the snow chains to check their proper condition and binding after a few kilometers of driving.
Caution! Many vehicles, large class and displacement, SUVs do not accept chains, so we should be informed in advance from the manufacturer's book that is in your car.
3. Engine Cooling System
The antifreeze is absolutely necessary for the proper operation of the engine, as well as the complete control of the system. (condition of straps, piping, clamps, etc.).
The control of the heating / ventilation system is also necessary for the heating of the vehicle but also for the ventilation - defogging of the windows.
4. Car battery
Because she usually surrenders her spirit unannounced on a cold morning, we do a check before the bad weather and the frost. (We ask a workshop to check the specific gravity of the electrolyte) so that it can fully respond to the cold winter mornings.
If in doubt, change the battery of your vehicle before it betrays us.
5. Glass cleaners
We make sure that they clean the windshield properly without any problems (windscreen) of our car and even that in the liquid cleaning container there is antifreeze.
First we check their correct setting in our vehicle.
If we travel to foggy areas, it is necessary to install refractory projectors (fog) by a specialist, for comfort and safety.
Useful tips for not getting involved in a car accident while driving in winter
In no case do we make abrupt movements on the steering wheel or panic choices on the ice. Calm and gentle movements are recommended.
Chain placement requires prior training to avoid further problems.
The snowfall also covers the sidewalk, so drivers, in addition to the ice, have to watch out for pedestrians.
Abrupt braking (either emergency or panic) in icy snow or ice drives our car off course.
Special snowplows leave a thin layer of snow on the road, which very easily turns to ice. Therefore, we drive with special care.
In the snow removal, we clean the crystals with plastic scrapers and the snow in front of the car to get started.
So it is important to know that because there are always dangerous and unexpected pitfalls, the chances of a car accident during winter driving increase. That's why we always take the appropriate precautions.