Status: 09.12.2023, 05:32 a.m.
By: Simon Mones
With the winter comes the snow to Germany. And that makes it difficult for drivers to make livers. However, with a few tips, you will surely reach your goal.
Winter isn't just coming – it's long here. Large parts of Germany are already covered with snow. Drivers must be careful accordingly, as black ice and further snow are to be expected at any time. When temperatures are around freezing, it becomes particularly dangerous. With a few tips, however, you can reach your destination safely even in snow and ice.
But before you can even get started, there is already a task that many find annoying: the car has to be completely cleared of ice and snow. "This is mandatory and only those who have good visibility can react quickly," explains the ADAC. In addition, the following traffic must not be endangered by falling snow or ice. A whisk and an ice scraper are therefore standard equipment in winter.
Driving in winter: Clearing your car of snow and ice before driving
Once the car has been cleared of snow and ice, the journey can begin. However, you should pay attention to the right tyres. In Germany, winter tires are mandatory depending on the situation. All-season tyres are also acceptable, but these are not a sensible option for everyone. The profile of the tires should be at least 4 millimeters, advises the ADAC. Meanwhile, only 1.6 millimeters are prescribed.
If it snows in winter, caution is advised. © Rene Traut/Imago
The automobile club also has other useful tips for driving on ice and snow:
- Adjust speed! Reduce your speed in winter road conditions. An adapted pace allows you to react better and avoid accidents. In addition, you should keep enough distance from the car in front.
- Low-revving driving in high gear helps you move forward on slippery roads, as the tires build up better grip. In slippery conditions, it is therefore also advisable to start in second gear.
- On an open road, check the brakes occasionally if there is no danger to others. This will give you a feel for the road situation and the braking distance on slippery roads. This can be up to five times as long as on a dry road.
- Avoid jerky steering movements. If the car does skid on a straight road, react as follows: disengage, brake and countersteer quickly but sensitively. The ESP helps you stabilize the car. "If the vehicle no longer reacts, the only thing that can help is emergency braking," explains the ADAC.
- The electronics usually provide some traction control in modern cars. Nevertheless, you should accelerate carefully when starting off on slippery roads.
- If the road is not cleared, it is better to drive in fresh snow than in the track of the car in front. The snow in the lane quickly compacts into ice.
- In the case of automatic cars, the Sport setting should be avoided in winter conditions. Among other things, this ensures that the gears are extended higher and this is not helpful on slippery roads.
- If the car goes off the rails in a curve, it's important to stay calm. Press firmly and firmly on the brake pedal (brake stroke) and gently correct the steering wheel. Often, even a slight reduction in speed is enough to get the car back under control.
- If temperatures fluctuate around freezing, caution is advised: the road surface can change constantly.
- However, if the road surface is covered with ice, the only thing that helps is to wait for the road service. Otherwise, the adhesion between the tyre and the road is zero.
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Driving in winter: Practice putting on snow chains
Snow chains with quick and easy installation
The König Easy-Fit CU-9 103 snow chains (promotional link) are particularly easy and quick to install. Their robust design ensures reliable traction and the best possible grip on snowy or icy roads.
However, in some cases, even the best winter tires won't help you get ahead on the snow. In this case, snow chains may also be mandatory. Therefore, you should first deal with how these are mounted on the drive wheels (for all-wheel drive vehicles, please note the manufacturer's instructions) and, ideally, practice this once. However, you are not allowed to drive faster than 50 km/h with the snow chains.
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The tire manufacturer Continental also advises to always have an emergency kit in the trunk, including blankets, warm clothing, shovel, tow rope and a first aid kit. In poor visibility conditions, the low beam headlights should also be switched on during the day. And the speed should also be adapted to the weather, which is also provided for in the Road Traffic Ordinance. "If visibility is less than 50 metres during snowfall, a speed limit actually applies: then you may not drive faster than 50 km/h," explains the ADAC.
This text was created with the help of machine support and carefully reviewed by editor Simon Mones before publication.