Monday, December 3, 2012

A taste of winter driving

Last week it came the snow, we actually had a quite heavy storm on Friday, but Thursday was the first white winter day.  I drove on Thursday to work, my usual commute, several of my colleagues asked me if I took the car, and were asking me how it went. On that day I could not really feel the slipperiness of the road in the morning, thanks to my studded tires, but I did feel it in the evening coming back home. On the way to work, it was snowing a bit, not yet enough to have the wipers on continuously, but now and then. The road was congested on a short stretch, and gave time to check and adjust the heat to make sure my back window and mirrors were not getting foggy. Motorist were driving slower than usual, and I kept my distance, I did not try to overtake anyone or change lanes unnecessary,  I guess I would not have saved that much time hurrying it up.

On my way back I felt it was slipperier than on the morning, motorist were driving slower than on my previous journeys, and I was surprised to see people driving about 80 km/h on a 100 km/h road. A bit nervous, because although not sliding, the traction was not as I would have like it, I noticed I pressed my lips as I was feeling a bit tense then, but nothing else happened, I just drove with the traffic flow, kept my distance to be able to react should something have occurred. I arrived safely at home, no incidents. My husband took me to work on Friday though, because we got a rather heavy storm.

Monday has come, and no storm, but ice, or heavy pressed snow on slow traffic roads. I should get used to sliding because it happens often, nothing big but definetely traction is different on roads covered by ice/snow. I usually take my foot out of the throttle, press the clutch, this time there were no cars to be seen behind me, the road speed limits was actually very low, 30 km/h.. the car slides, but the traction is gained almost immediately. Intersections I have been told are particularly icy, so I apply the same technique, and approach them slowly, also when moving on from traffic lights, I start the car slowly, not so much different than before actually but I guess now the rest of the drivers do the same J.  I checked the video from the link below, it gives quite good advice on how to take turns and highlights the pedal to press, clutch, brake or throttle at different steps of the curve.

Then, funny enough I am not that apprehensive, or that much worried of winter driving on the road so far, the part that takes most of my concentration is parking, and there is also quite a lot of ice there. On my Monday commute as I arrived at the parking lot I observed there was no space on my usual spots, so I approached it slowly looking for places, I saw one, between two cars, moved backwards a bit, then forward and tried to do a very sharp turn, but I was still entering a bit diagonally into the spot, then a car wanted to pass behind me, so I moved forward to let him pass, then just a little backwards and then forward trying to correct making a bit like an s, then I straightened the steering wheel and done. Still the car was not completely straight as I would have liked, but right on the middle at least. A colleague pass by and said to me, very good actually. You can check a picture of my today’s parking and correlate with heart rate graph. Guess where was the heart rate peak?, oh well, it is maybe when I started walking to the office building.

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