When there is a lot of snow, most people drive carefully and give themselves greater safety margins. But it is when the slipperiness of the road is not apparent that the most treacherous situations occur.
When the first ice arrives, many people keep driving as if the conditions were the same as on a lovely autumn day. If you are unprepared and enter a curve where there are patches of ice at 90 km/h, it can end very badly.
A treacherous situation is more complex or dangerous than it appears to be:
Tracks are formed in the lane where most people drive. You may get good traction inside the tracks, but if you go outside them you may lose the grip on the road completely. You should therefore avoid overtaking in these conditions.
Do you want to overtake the truck? It might be very slippery outside the tyre tracks.
When the temperature is around 0°C, rain may freeze directly upon contact with the road. This is referred to as freezing rain and it is very dangerous, as you may think it is normal rain, whilst it is actually making the road surface extremely slippery.
When it gets cold and starts to snow, the car in front of you may trail snow smoke (the tyres whisk up the newly fallen snow). You must therefore maintain an extra large distance to the car in front in this situation.
Use snow markers to assess the width of the road.
In deep snow, you will not see any road markings, which means you have to rely on the tracks of the snowplough. Remember however that the snowplough may have gone outside of the road. If you drive too far to the right, you risk sinking into the snow in the ditch. Snow markers are a good indication of the actual width of the road.
High visibility vest and ice scraper.
Even in temperatures of -25°C, many people will get in their car and drive off wearing summer clothes. Should you get stuck in a ditch on a forest road, you will soon realise how poorly equipped you are. If you cannot get the car started, the heat will rapidly disappear, and it may take a while for a recovery vehicle to arrive. You should therefore be equipped with the following in winter:
Winter is the normal time for slippery road conditions. However, the roads can get slippery at other times of the year too. The following are a few examples of things to pay particular attention to in other seasons.
Watch out for wet leaves.