Winter is quite a polarising season. Some people hate the ceaseless snow and rain, while others find beauty in the crystal snowflakes. While it is enjoyable to stay in the comfort of your own home, going outside to breathe in the clean air is good for your mind and body. But harsh winters season bring about rough road conditions. That makes going out for drives difficult and sometimes dangerous. Thus, it is vital to use the right tools and follow proper guidelines while driving.
Let us now figure out the steps needed to travel safely in these climatic conditions.
The type of tyres that you should use
Depending on the climatic conditions, you can use either winter tyres or all-season ones. All season tyres are suitable for areas with mild winters. These can be used throughout the year, making them a good choice for such locations. But, if the winter season are unforgiving and cover the streets with thick snow, winter tyres become a requirement. Thus, it becomes significant to learn the features of such tyres. They are listed below.
- Lower temperatures can harden the rubber in tyres. This loss in flexibility can be corrected by adding compounds having a higher percentage of natural rubber.
- Tyres made from such soft rubber compounds have a tight grip on the pavements.
- The design of the tread works well with slippery, snowy or icy roads.
- The presence of sipes in the tyres helps in getting rid of excess water and slush.
- Deep grooves in the tread add to the gripping ability of the radials.
Changing the tyres of your vehicle is often a direct consequence of season changes. So, when should you use snow tyres? If the local authorities have regulations set in place, you must follow them. Otherwise, you can choose a suitable time yourself. If you are too late and the temperature drops too low, the rubber might get damaged. But making the switch too early can erode the soft rubber tread. In general, the duration between October and Easter break is recommended. Temperature falling below 7°C can provide another frame of reference.
Different countries have different laws on winter tyres. In some European countries, their use is mandatory, while in others, the choice is left up to the drivers. The permits related to the use of studs in tyres also varies by country. Similar is the case for snow chains that should be used based on road signs or other specifications provided by the authorities.
Checking the pneumatic pressure in tyres
The change in inflation pressure of tyres varies directly with the surrounding temperature. A decrease of 10°C leads to a drop in the pneumatic stress between 1 to 2 PSI. Thus, it becomes essential to check the pressure periodically. Incorrect inflation of tyres reduces their grip on pavements. That lowers the mileage and increases the air pollution levels. Maintaining the pressure becomes especially significant for tyres containing studs.
Measurement of tread depth of tyres
The tread design of snow tyres consists of deep grooves that provide better braking control to the driver. For most countries, a minimum value is fixed for the tread depth. You can use a gauge to measure the depth or check for wear bars. If the tread is eroded beyond the legal limit, you must switch your set of snow radials.
Some other measures you should take
The first step towards a safe and comfortable journey during the frosty season is fitting the correct tyres. The features of such a car tyre should match those mentioned above. Besides, you must check the fluid levels in your vehicle. These fluids include the windshield wiper fluid, oil and antifreeze. Top them up to the threshold and fix any leaks immediately. Check the battery of the vehicle and replace it if necessary. Determine the condition of the lights both on the inside and outside the car. If all of them are working, then you can clean them out before use. Otherwise, make sure to get them fixed by a mechanic. Harsh winter season are often accompanied by heavy rain in some areas. That is why you need working windshield wipers.
Put together a crisis kit for the snowy season
Winter roads are difficult to tread on. In case you are stranded, you might need some tools that can help you out. These instruments include an ice scraper, an extra tyre, a flashlight, towing and jumper cables, a mini shovel and halite (road salt). Along with these, you need a phone charger, a high visibility vest, a whistle and a first aid box.
The Winter season is enjoyable, but it can be dangerous at the same time. It is crucial to take the necessary steps to travel safely. Among the different factors, you should give special attention to the tyres of your vehicle.
Riding a vehicle, possessing the right tyres and equipment will keep you and others around you protected. Thus, it becomes vital that you buy good quality tyres online to fit on the wheel rims. The other tools should also be suited to your vehicle. In all cases, you should abide by the laws of the concerned location.