Jakes Driving School Blog

Jakes Driving School Blog

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Driving In Extreme Weather Conditions

Jake is the owner of a driving school which is based in Gloucester and at this time of year a lot of the driving lessons are conducted in the dark and bad weather conditions.
When the weather is bad like it was just after Christmas 2009 with temperatures dropping as low as -20 c, Jake saw this as an ideal opportunity to let the learner drivers have the experience of driving in the snow and ice.
When the weather is this extreme then yes you should try to avoid unnecessary journeys but you could find yourself in a situation where you have no choice.
The ideal environment to learn to drive in the snow and ice is with your driving instructor when i do this I am careful where I plan the lessons route such as avoiding steep hills etc where its possible to experience complete loss of control of the vehicle.
When driving we should remember that a car is heavy the average car weighs around 1500KG and when this moving along it has momentum so even if its moving slowly it takes a lot to make the car stop quickly ideally it should be slowed down and stopped gradually. For example even if driving at a Meer 10 mph if you hit the brakes hard you will be thrown forwards as the momentum will be thrown forwards, if you accelerate hard you will be pushed back into your seat the momentum is pushing you back or you corner hard to the left at speed you will be pushed over to the right etc.
Now Lets remember that the car has fours wheels but there is not that much actually in contact with the road surface in fact its only about the equivalent to for CD Cases.
If we keep throwing that momentum around to suddenly then one or more of the tyres will lose grip which is when we start to lose control.
Now with good tyres in good dry conditions the tyres generally have good grip so if make some sudden movements with the car then it might be quite forgiving.
In the ice and snow there is virtually no grip.
stopping distances are 10 times greater that the normal stopping distance so when I teach this, I say to the learner driver that we need to try to avoid using the brakes and really purely on engine braking and then at the end very lightly touch the brake to bring the car to a gentle halt. when moving off again go very easy with the revs and very gentle with clutch to avoid wheel spinning. When cornering remember that the car really would like to continue in a straight line. Slow right down for turn and apply the steering very gradually.

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