External Factors Affecting Road Holding
There are several factors that affect road holding that must be considered when driving:
• Wet roads: Will double your braking distances. (Brake earlier progressively).
• Surface water: This can cause the car to pull to one side if the wheels on one side of your car go through it. This is caused because of the extra resistance experienced by the wheels in the water. (Keep a firm grip on the wheel and come off the gas).
• Aquaplaning: Occurs when you enter any standing water too quickly and water gets trapped between the tyres and road surface. Steering will become light and you will lose traction. (Come off the gas, do not brake and keep firm hands on the wheel).
• Floods and fords: If you come across a flood or ford then you must stop and assess if safe to proceed. If so, you must drive slowly so as not to displace the water. Use first gear with high revs whilst slipping the clutch. (Having gone through you must test your brakes before proceeding further).
• Snow and ice: Can increase your braking distances by ten times. Your view of the road ahead and the road markings can be obscured, drive slowly increasing your separation distances, brake early and gently going into lower gears much earlier than you would normally.
When moving off in snow and ice it may be an advantage to use as high a gear as possible. This will slow down the turning force of the wheels and so decrease the chances of wheel spin.
When approaching any hazard in the snow or ice it is vital you have slowed down and are in the correct gear well before you arrive. (Always have an escape route in mind in case the worst should happen).
• Black ice: The invisible hazard. This occurs when rain freezes on the road as it falls. Try to anticipate this may happen by taking note of the conditions. Your steering will become light as you go over it. (Do not brake when on the ice).