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Precautions when driving in snow

Intelligent speed bumps to reduce road accidents

29/12/2014

The usual snow clearing equipment, grit silos or brine tanks and this year an alert system using  SMS messages via the "My112" app, introduced this year in the Madrid region. These initiatives help us to ensure better traffic flow but always be aware of possible weather warnings before starting a journey.
To begin with, always try to avoid driving during bad weather. If you have no choice then remember that when driving in snow your grip on the road is greatly reduced and there is a possibility of ice patches, further reducing control of your vehicle. In the event of losing control due to snow or ice it is FUNDAMENTAL that you protect yourself from impact or skidding off the road by the correct use of seatbelts or a child restraining system. Remember that the safest position for your children is the middle of the back seat and the safest way to travel is using a child seat which up to 3 or 4 years of age should always be facing backwards, and for adults and children over 135cm always ensure that the seatbelt is correctly adjusted. The upper belt should always sit across the sternum and across the middle of the collarbone and the lower strap over the pelvic bones. If unsure always use a child booster seat for the children: a wrongly adjusted seatbelt over the stomach or the neck can result in serious injury even when travelling slowly. At the MAPFRE FOUNDATION we recommend extreme caution when driving in snow and wish to remind you of the following advice when driving in snow:

  • Move off slowly and in the highest gear possible, reducing the power to the wheels to avoid skidding.
  • If you are not equipped with winter tires or are using chains keep below 40km/hr. and brake, turn and accelerate very gently. At the MAPFRE FOUNDATION we would advise you to go to a place where you can try the chains, fit them somewhere safe (such as your garage or at a petrol station or a car park) and try them out a couple of times before your trip.
  • When you are in an area with snow, follow the tracks of the vehicle in front to reduce the risk of skidding off the road and try to maintain a constant speed.
  • Monitor the other drivers, they can be unpredictable.
  • Anticipate in time your stops and drop a gear to slow down before pressing the brake. When you brake do it slowly to avoid your wheels locking and losing control of the vehicle. Should this happen take your foot off the pedal and recover your grip on the road and a drop a gear to use the engine as a brake.
  • Take special care on corners. Reduce your speed before it and turn the steering wheel smoothly and steadily. On the corner keep your speed slow and regular to keep control of the vehicle.
  • When you stop, check that there isn’t too much snow built up under the vehicle and on the mud flaps this can hinder the steering especially on bends and turns.
  • Carry water and a fully charged cell phone.

Driving in snow increases risks. Remember this and be extremely cautious.

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