While many people know how to respond should they find themselves in a dangerous skid or even start to spin out of control in a car, not everyone knows from experience. The best way to gain that experience is driving in a skidpan environment.
Driving in poor weather conditions requires you to be constantly alert to adjust your speed and position and detect any potential problems as early as possible. A lane change or pre-emptive braking could prevent an incident.
Other than knowing what to do in certain situations on the road, the said vehicle must also be in top shape. Components like brakes, control arm assembly, shock absorbers, and tyres play a vital part in how a car handles and reacts in varying conditions. It is always best to have your vehicle assessed.
Thanks to Renault South Africa, Gumtree will be attending a Skidpan Experience at Zwartkops Raceway in July, getting behind the wheel of some of the brand’s best-selling models like the Kwid (Climber), Triber and Kiger. The overall aim to increase vehicle control and dynamics while building confidence in driving in wet conditions.
Gumtree lists some of the basic rules about driving in wet conditions:
Safe following distance – Giving yourself (and your car) that extra space in front of you allows for sufficient time to avoid a potential accident that requires split-second action. When driving on a wet road surface, on gravel, or through roadworks, your vehicle will skid if you brake or change direction suddenly.
Reduce speed –Reduce your speed below the speed limit in fog, rain, and snow, as these conditions make it difficult for drivers to see and react to hazardous situations. A vehicle takes fractionally longer to stop in wet conditions where traction is limited, assuming the brakes, shocks, and tyres are in excellent condition.
Hydroplane – This occurs when water and the rising of oil from the ground causes your car’s tyres to lose contact (or traction) with the road surface. If you feel you vehicle going into hydroplaning, the best thing you can do is to slowly lift your foot from the accelerator, don’t brake or move your steering wheel suddenly as this will make your car lose control.
Don’t brake in a bend – Before turning, slow down to a speed that allows you to navigate the turn safely. Only brake when you’re in a straight line, and force should be applied gradually, so as not lock the brakes up. Brake harder if you need to reduce speed quickly, or if you’re approaching a curve at an excessive speed.
There are many places across South Africa that offer advanced and defensive driving courses. It is an important skill to have.
Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local automotive vehicle information close to home.