Relaxed and safe through the winter: How drivers can practise for critical situations

11. Oct 2020 | Industry + More

Summer was much too short once again, wasn't it? It wasn't long ago that it was really warm, and now we're already in the middle of autumn. Now the days are getting shorter and the weather is not necessarily more cosy. This also applies to the conditions on the road: By November at the latest, low temperatures can bring ice and snow, with more frequent rainfall and, in Autumn in particular, wet leaves can cause danger on the roads. Being well prepared will help you to get through the cold season safe and stress-free.

In Germany, the "situational winter tyre obligation" applies. This means that the use of summer tyres in winter road conditions is prohibited. As soon as the temperatures drop, you should switch to winter tyres. This usually happens throughout Germany at some point in October.

Winter tyres are superior to summer tyres for ice and snow

For cars equipped with tyre pressure monitoring sensors (TPMS), we strongly recommend visiting the automotive workshop. For many TPMS systems, the sensors also have to be checked when changing tyres to ensure problem-free communication between the sensor and TPMS receiver. Incidentally: The AirGuard 4.0 from Herth+Buss provides vehicle professionals with an extremely practical tyre pressure monitoring system, with the OBD II teaching-in functions that were otherwise only provided via the AirGuard 3.0 adaptor already integrated.

While summer tyres struggle and fight for traction on ice and snow, winter tyres are specially designed for this purpose and offer a much better grip when braking, accelerating and cornering - a clear plus in safety! Winter tyres have significant advantages over summer tyres, not only when it comes to snow and ice. They are already superior to summer tyres in temperatures in the single-digit range. They feature special rubber compounds which are suitable for the cold and contain a high proportion of silica or natural rubber, which also keeps the tyres elastic in low temperatures. After all: the softer the rubber, the better it meshes with the road surface below. This results in greater grip while accelerating, braking and cornering. By contrast, summer tyres harden in the cold, causing the grip to reduce.

Difficult weather and road conditions

And despite suitable tyres, critical situations in traffic can occur more frequently in winter. Aquaplaning or the onset of winter can quickly lead to slippery roads. In general, drivers are regularly confronted with difficult conditions during the cold season.

The good news: We can learn how to deal with difficult road and weather conditions. Providers such as the ADAC have special driving safety training courses, where drivers can experience critical situations in their own car: When can the car skid at the rear and when can the car slip with the front axle? When do drivers reach their physical limit and what should they do then?

We can learn how to deal with tricky driving situations

Trained instructors have the answer to these questions: The trickiest driving situations are practised in simulated winter road conditions. In these courses, both inexperienced or nervous, as well as experienced drivers learn how to react correctly in hazardous situations and to stabilise their car as quickly as possible. Although driving safety training doesn't directly prevent accidents, drivers do raise their awareness of critical situations in traffic. People who have tested the limits themselves in a driving safety training course are better able to react in everyday life: The "Deutsche Transportwacht" (German Association for the Prevention of Road Accidents) website states that the hands-on experience is intended to give drivers "a feel for dangerous situations and enable them to recognise and avoid them" The costs for this kind of driving safety training amount to about 120 to 200 euros - an excellent investment in your own safety.

So drivers can get through the winter relaxed with the right tyres and the right training!