Snow and ice require extreme caution and a specific driving style. Experienced rally driver Kris Meeke will now give you a few tips on how to drive safely on these surfaces. Here are four basic tips.
How slippery is it?
The first important thing is to find out how slippery the surface under your wheels is. How to do this? Look into your rear-view mirror to see if the car behind you has enough clearance. If so, apply the brakes lightly in a straight line and you'll know how much grip the tyres have. A classic winter tyre without studs works best on packed but not completely smooth snow. If you have smooth, shiny ruts in front of you, you'd better stay off them a bit, because that's where it will slide the most.
It is important to stay calm and smooth
If you're already on ice and the car stops responding, be as careful as possible. It's the same as aquaplaning on wet tarmac. Panicky steering interventions usually make the situation worse and send the car in a direction you surely don’t want to go. The most important thing on snow and ice is to stay calm and control the car as smoothly as possible. Be very careful with the steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal, as the car reacts differently to what you are used to. This is especially true when starting and braking. If the wheels begin to spin while accelerating, ease off the throttle and try to be even smoother. Every millimeter of pedal travel counts.
Reduce speed and increase distance
When driving on snow and ice, it is optimal to reduce your speed by at least 30%. Because the car responds more slowly to your commands, it's good to have more time to do everything. Always enter a corner carefully enough to react to sudden events or avoid sudden obstacles. In emergency situations, don't be afraid to brake harder, as the ABS and ESC stabilization system will help in such situations and keep the car still at least partially controllable.
Practice on a closed track
The best way to practice handling the car in these specific conditions is on a closed track or a test track. If you get the opportunity, take it. This training will give you the confidence, calmness, and reliance you need to take on the road.
You'll find more useful tips in the video.