The problem: the rear end of the car pulls out and your turn is tighter than you planned. This may occur when your rear tires wheels are not sufficiently inflated, when one rear tire (or both) is worn out, or when a rear tire loses grip with the road (because of a rock or an oil spill, etc.). It may also occur when accelerating too much in low gear in a car with rear-drive.
Common mistake: your instinct is to cut the wheel the other way and some people even try speeding up. This reaction requires great skill to accurately correct the oversteer, and the faster you go – the harder it will get. Many head-on collisions happen when people try to correct oversteer and end up in the opposite lane. Even professional drivers must practice this technique several times, but on the road – we only have one try…
The solution: a quick and decisive brake when you feel the rear of the car starting to slide. I can’t emphasize it enough – brake hard and brake fast, anything less will make the situation worse! That way, your car will stop quickly and you’ll avoid the oversteer. Now that the drama is over, you can slowly accelerate and continue on your merry way.
The problem: flotation occurs when you drive through a deep puddle. The grooves on the tires can’t drain the water fast enough and the tire grip is severely diminished.
The solution: slow down before hitting a puddle, and cross it at low speeds and keep your wheel as straight as possible. If you’re driving a manual, use the clutch during your “boat ride”. As soon as you’re out of the puddle, gently apply the brake for 2-3 seconds to make sure the tires are drained and that grip has been restored.
The problem: in wet and frozen roads, grip is significantly low, increasing the likeliness of your wheels over-spinning and losing grip on the road.
The solution (beginning of a drive): manual cars should start slowly and in low gear. If your car has a rain/snow/ice setting, use it! In any case, accelerate slowly and steadily.
The solution (during a drive): accelerate slowly and gradually in any situation, and especially when coming out of a turn.
9. Gear choice
On a wet or frozen road, you should use a higher gear than the one you’d use on a dry road. This is particularly relevant in turns and road curves, but also in other situations where we’d normally use a lower gear. The reason for this is to reduce the car’s momentum and avoid the tires; losing their grip.
10. Emergency braking
The most important part of winter-driving safety!
The most effective brake for anyone who isn’t a professional racer is to brake fast and hard. Your vehicle will stop in the shortest possible distance if you’re quick and decisive. Pumping the brakes extends the braking distance considerably.
If your car has ABS (Antilock Brake System), let the system do its job, it will prevent your wheels from locking and your car will remain in your control. If you need to brake in the middle of a turn, the system will cause the turn to be wider, but you need to maintain your braking and keep your wheel in its original direction.
If you don’t have ABS, your wheels will lock and the car will maintain its bearing. If you need to avoid an obstacle on the road, release the brakes half-way before you cut the wheel, and once you’ve passed the obstacle – resume applying maximum pressure on the brakes. If you’re in mid-turn, brake hard but not all the way (about 70% through). If your wheels locked ease up on the brake until you regain control.