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Driving in difficult conditions

Driving in difficult conditions In Finland we have short summer and very long winter time. Already in October there might be slippery roads and darkness falls down early. You must always drive suitable situation speed. Driver must be able to stop the car in all predictable situations on the distance that he can see. So if visibility is bad because of the weather or darkness you must drive slower speed.

If you slow down your driving speed a quarter braking distance is getting down about half. For example:
Speed 80km/h = brake distance 27m
Speed 60km/h = brake distance 15m

Here you can test stopping distance in different grip and speeds:

Driving on slippery road It is obvious that roads are slippery in winter time, but slipperiness might surprise already before the winter. Black ice is just very thin slippery surface on the asphalt. When you walk to your car, test how your shoe slide on asphalt. Also blowing snow might make driving difficult. Slow down your speed so you can see.

Most drivers in Finland use studded winter tyres. You can use studded winter tyres from beginning of November to end of March or to next Monday after the Easter Monday. Also you can use studded tyres if weathers required. With non-studded winter tyres there are limited use, but it is not recommendably to drive non-studded tyres in summer. Nordic winter tire is not good on wet asphalt.

Check more info of tires:

Mim. depth in main grooves of summer tires is 1,6mm and winter tires 3,0mm. You can use 2 coin to checking main grooves in tires. Remember to check air pressures often and increase air pressure when the car is fully load.

ABS -brakes help you to control better your car. Remember that ABS -brakes won't make braking distance shorter, but you can brake and steer and brake at the same time. If you see yellow ABS warning light, you can drive but must contact to car service as soon as possible.

TC/ASR -traction control prevent tires to skid when moving off. Traction control brake tire and cut down power. ESP/ESC -electronic stability control try to fix mistakes made by driver. ESC use many sensors to superivising car position and tires. If the the road surface is very slippery, these deveices won't change the driving condition to similar as in summer, but still might help a little bit.

Driving in dark Driver is responsible to use driving lights always if it is dark. Also use lights when it is raining or there is fog on air. Remember to use lights in tunnel. In many new cars back lights don't work automatically when you use daytime lights (DLR).

  • 1. Lights off
  • 2. Front and back lights on (also called: side lights / parking lights)
  • 3. Driving lights on (also called:low beams / dipped beams)

    Use High beam lights always when you drive on a dark road where there is no street lights or other vehicles infront of your car. With high beam lights on you can see more than 100 - 150 meters a way, but with Dipped beam lights (low beams) you can only see about 50 meters. How to use high beams: First switch on driving lights and then push or pull signalling lever.

    If you must stop your car on a dark road, switch on parking lights. And danger situation also hazard indicators (warning indicators). You can use hazard indicators only when your car is not moving. Take warning triangle about 100 - 200 meters a way from your car.

    Test why you should use reflector when it is dark:

    Remember to check that you reflector always in use when you walk outside in dark time. Also you must use reflector even though there are street lights.