What is dangerous winter track?
Some useful tips for those who like to travel during the cold season!
In the city, the price of a mistake is a crumpled wing, death on the highway. This eternal truth in winter is of particular relevance, because a heap of others is added to the usual dangers. And not only associated with slippery surfaces.
But let's start with him, with the most important deterrent when driving on the highway in winter - a slippery road. And immediately note that in Russia the only correct choice of tires for the track is studded. If in big cities, where they pour and pour all sorts of anti-icing stuff, you can sometimes make compromises and use velcro, then there are only thorns on the track. And not just studded, but really high-quality and well clinging to the ice. We have already dealt with this issue and recall that “high-quality and well-adhering” is the first half of the final tire test protocol of any decent automotive publication.
You can, of course, "argue" that after -20 ° C, the friction and studded tires' grip properties are almost equal. But is there absolute certainty that such frosts will last throughout your entire trip? Here we are about the same.
The author of this article travels on winter (and not only) tracks for 20 years. And only two times I happened to go on "flypapers". The very first time, back in 1997 already, it was cold on the way from Krasnoyarsk to Omsk, and not the most outstanding “sticky” Falken clung to the frozen asphalt quite tolerably. But on the "mischievous turns" in the Kemerovo region had already hard times. My other velcro winter drive experience was depressing. At a temperature of -5 ° C snow was falling, and a very slippery roll formed on the road. On which the beautiful Michelin X-Ice friction tires were completely helpless.
There was, however, another extreme driving experience, but on so-called "all-season" tires - in January 2012 in the Denver area, Colorado. Americans almost never equip rental cars with special winter tires. But the Russian experience still allowed not only to stay on the icy road, but also to drive around the cars of Americans, which the elements and their own negligence scattered on the sides and ditches, like billiard balls.
But of my own free will and on my own car, I will never drive velcro on the track. If only because I have not used them for many years.
Before the road
To begin, a list of mandatory things that should be in the car before a long winter road. And also two words about some events that should be taken with a car:
1. Strong rope or rope.
It is a strong, not the first Chinese car found in a car shop. And it is better to be genuine or even two “ordinary” - when you fly away into a ditch, you may not have a short one.
2. "Carton" in front of the radiator.
Extremely relevant at temperatures below -20 ° C. And it will help not only to ensure the temperature balance of the engine cooling system, when the heat generated may not be enough for the “stove”, but also to prevent the crankcase ventilation system from freezing. What is fraught with "spitting out" the dipstick and the loss of engine oil.
3. Warm things.
On the road, anything can happen, including - a breakdown or an accident. If the engine is damaged, then it is not known how much it will have to blaze in the cold.
4. Tourist gas burner with a pair of spare cylinders.
In the most extreme case, it can be lit right in the cabin. Oxygen, it "burns" a little, and the interior more or less warmed up.
5. Increased stock of non-freezing.
6. A small supply of non-perishable food and drinking water.
On my way
It is necessary to follow as a rule and strictly follow its implementation - approximately every 10 minutes, and also for any visually distinguished surface change, we “try” the road. To do this, briefly depress the brake pedal and assess whether there is some kind of tire adhesion or even worse.
Thus, we not only introduce an additional element of self-discipline into the process of driving, but also remain in constant readiness for the possible nature of emergency braking.
Be sure to include not only the dipped beam required by the Rules of the Road, but also foglights, including the rear ones. This is necessary not to see the road better, but to see you better. This is especially true when overtaking on two-lane roads, when there is a snow trail behind the wagons, blocking visibility. In this case, additional head light to allow the oncoming to see you before they no longer have time to return to their lane.
Overtaking in the conditions of a snow plume is the most potentially deadly maneuver. Personally, I prefer to trail behind the wagon before any long and flat left turn, when it will be possible to assess the presence of the counter. Often the right-hand truckers "turn signal" means that the "oncoming" is free and you can go to overtake. But with frequent trips on the highway, it’s best to get a CBS radio station. It is quite inexpensive, but will allow in real time to ask the "long-range" situation on the "oncoming".
We follow gasoline and always refuel when emptying half of the tank. And we refuel at the branded gas stations of vertically integrated oil companies, yet running into them with a “bodyagu” is a very small chance.
And under any conditions we try not to make sudden movements with the steering wheel - there is a lot of video on the Internet, how the machine “unwinds” and brings it to the oncoming truck. It is almost always death. If the irreparable happens, and an accident is unavoidable, then we smoothly try to jump out onto our side and further into a snow-covered field with the hope of not “catching” the roadside column or another object hidden in the snow. If the flight in the field passed safely and without a coup, and the snow is deep, then there is a chance to get rid of only the search for a tug to return the car to the road. This is where a long and strong rope / cable comes in handy.
Well, so that this does not happen - we always reduce speed when approaching oncoming cars and mentally prepare for the potentially inadequate actions of their drivers. And to the actions of the guy who can jump on overtaking after the oncoming wagon. Also it is necessary to slow down and increase the distance if the next car in front of you went to overtake the passing wagon.
Well and the main thing - if there is a possibility of an alternative in the form of a train or an airplane, then it is better not to go by car. Our tracks (and many not quite adequate drivers) are dangerous in the summer, and in the winter - a hundredfold.