Driving Safely on Wet
One of the greatest risks of driving in the wet is aquaplaning: how can you counter this?
Aquaplaning leads to “floating” of the tyre and immediate loss of grip. It is a dangerous situation which is typically created by tackling very wet stretches of road or large puddles of water, created by bad road surface drainage, at speed. At these times, the grooves of the tread don’t manage to expel the water under the tyre and, in practice, you can suddenly find the car “floating”.
With careful driving and tyres which are not worn and are correctly inflated this danger can, on most occasions, be avoided, since treads are designed to drain the greatest possible quantity of water to ensure the best possible adherence.
Now that we’ve clarified the concept of aquaplaning here is some advice on how to cope with this situation. Braking is no use because the car is floating and moreover there is also the risk, as soon as the tyres grip again, that the car may swerve suddenly making you lose control completely.
The best thing to do is keep a firm grip on the steering wheel to prepare for “regripping” trying to keep the correct steering direction for the entire duration of the phenomenon and take your foot gradually off the accelerator pedal given that the engine revs increase rapidly as soon as the car starts floating.
Driving Safely in Winter
Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving – stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow.
- Wear comfortable, dry shoes for driving. Cumbersome, snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.
- Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
- Up hill – avoid having to stop part way up by waiting until it is clear of other cars or by leaving plenty of room to the car in front. Keep a constant speed, choosing the most suitable gear well in advance to avoid having to change down on the hill.
- Down hill – reduce your speed before the hill, use a low gear and try to avoid using the brakes. Leave as much room as possible between you and the car in front.
- If you have to use brakes then apply them gently. Release the brakes and de-clutch if the car skids.
- Automatic transmission – under normal driving conditions (motorways, etc) it’s best to select ‘Drive’ and let the gearbox do the work throughout the full gear range. In slippery, snowy conditions it’s best to select ‘2’, which limits the gear changes and also makes you less reliant on the brakes. Some autos have a ‘Winter’ mode which locks out first gear to reduce the risk of wheel spin. Check the handbook
Fuel efficient Driving
Green tyre innovation technology means fuel consumption could be reduced and environmental impact limited. But a lot depends on your driving habits. Here is some practical advice on how to make the most of the money saving opportunities presented by Green tyre products.
- Tyre pressures should be checked regularly, especially before a long journey. If tyres aren’t inflated correctly, they generate more rolling resistance and your vehicle will consume more fuel
- The faster you go the greater the aerodynamic resistance. Consequently fuel consumption will rise
- Maintain a smooth driving style, avoiding sharp acceleration or sudden braking
- Change up to a higher gear as soon as possible
- Avoid making the engine labour in low gear
- Use air conditioning conservatively and, if unnecessary, turn off all electrical services, e.g. the heated rear window
- If not being used, remove accessories, such as baggage and bike racks, as soon as possible, as they have a negative effect on the aerodynamic performance of the car
- Avoid overloading the car and remove unnecessary objects from the boot
- Don’t start the engine until you are ready to move off and switch it off if you expect to stop for more than a couple of minutes
How long has it been since you had the wheel alignment and camber of the wheels checked? A regular check by a tyre specialist will ensure a smooth-running, balanced car: an important factor in saving fuel.
Everyone knows that… you don’t brake on bends. And yet – pay attention observing the drivers in front of you – practically everyone comes into bends braking, before “letting go” of the pedal when they reach the centre of the bend. And everyone feels that they are perfect drivers since “you don’t brake on bends. Driving this way subjects the tyres – above all the front ones – to a double exertion: maintaining the trajectory set and – in addition – resisting the force of the braking system. Driving this way can endanger the stability of the car and therefore the road holding. Brake sooner, slow down in time and – above all – brake as much as possible with the wheels straight. Doing it this way takes advantage of the maximum grip possible offered by the tyre before steering.