Reminders for drivers about safe driving in changing weather and traffic conditions
The first snow that has fallen, the pretty cold weather, thaw and rain – such changes in weather conditions in the approach of winter should not surprise drivers. But still, for some drivers, the changeable weather becomes an unpleasant surprise. The State Enterprise Lithuanian Road Administration (hereinafter – the Road Administration) reminds drivers what they should remember before getting behind the wheel when the weather conditions are constantly changing.
When driving in winter conditions, drivers should not only drive more slowly, but also choose a greater distance to the cars driving in front of them so that, in the event of a dangerous situation or slippery road surface, there would be enough time to stop the car, and braking should be slower and even rather than sudden. In winter, the safe distance is the one that is travelled within 3 seconds from the vehicle, which is in front of own car. If the driver is driving at a speed of 50 km/h, a safe distance in winter should be about 40 meters, that is, a distance which is travelled within 3 seconds.
During the period when the air temperature is close to zero degrees, the glaze ice is the most dangerous phenomenon on the roads. The most dangerous thing is that it is not always visible to the naked eye. Therefore, it is necessary to drive carefully and choose a safe driving speed, which is always lower than the maximum permissible speed limit. It should be noted that due to more intense air circulation the temperature of the surfaces of bridges and overpasses is much lower.
Therefore, a thin layer of ice, which is invisible at first glance, forms namely here. As a result, drivers, having failed to take into account the weather and traffic conditions, can cause a traffic accident. It should also be remembered that crossroads are also the most slippery parts of the road, because constant braking causes ice to form at the crossroads. So, when approaching crossroads, drivers should start braking at least 50 meters away from the crossroad or even earlier.
In the pretty cold weather conditions, the driving conditions change – the temperature of the road surface, the tire grip with the road surface. Therefore, before travelling in winter conditions, it is necessary to pay attention to the condition of the road surface, to check and assess by oneself the tire grip with the road surface, that is, to press the brake pedal while driving, of course, after making sure that it is safe to do so. The safety of travel largely depends on the actions of drivers and sprinkling the roads with sand or salt is an additional, though very important, aid.
Greater attention should be paid to the road sections, which are covered in slush, because such sections are namely the ones on which the car becomes uncontrolled. Wet snow usually accumulates on the side of the road and in the middle of the road between lanes. Therefore, changing between lanes has to be very even. It is not recommended to suddenly cross a section of slush. The accelerator pedal should not be released if the car became uncontrolled. It is necessary to maintain the same speed or even slightly increase it. In such a situation, the most important thing is to keep the car on the same trajectory.
Proper technical condition and maintenance of the car are an equally important aspect of safe participation in traffic in winter conditions. First of all, winter tires with the tread depth of at least 5 mm must be used. Before travelling, the car lamps should be checked to make sure that they are properly adjusted, that all bulbs are shining and that the glasses of the lamps are sufficiently transparent. If the lamps are not maintained properly, their surface gets covered with a matte layer and, as a result, the light becomes dimmer, a shorter distance of the road is illuminated, the lamps do not form a correct beam of light and the roadside and pedestrians are no longer visible.
In order for the car to start, the battery needs to be checked. At low temperatures, the capacity of the battery may drop or it may become completely discharged. This usually happens when a car, the battery of which is not new, has been unused for several days. The fact that the car is used to travel only short distances is another circumstance that is particularly relevant at this time of the year.
After the snow fall, each time before travelling, the snow should be removed not only from the windshield of the car, but also of its bonnet and roof. When the temperature drops, it is necessary to replace in time the summer window washing liquid with the winter one, to wash the car windows with it in order to prevent the nozzles from freezing. Please note that the windshield of the car must be cleaned not only from the outside, but also from the inside.
It is also necessary to check the car wipers, which are usually become damaged when the temperature drops. Turning on the wipers without having checked them if they have not frozen to the glass is one of the main mistakes. Doing so can damage not only the wipers, but also the wiper mechanism. Therefore, it is always worth checking first if the wipers are not frozen to the glass, and if they are, then they should be separated from the glass very carefully, without applying force.
The Road Administration notes that, before travelling, drivers can access information about the state of the roads and weather conditions on the website www.eismoinfo.lt. The information on this website is constantly updated and published. Drivers should also inform the operators of the traffic information centre about slippery (unsafe) road sections by calling the telephone number 8 5 232 9677 or a short number 1871. Be safe on the roads!