How to drive safely (and for fun) in snow

(Szerző: Bal3 (ifj. Lukács Gábor), utoljára módosítva: 2007.01.15.)

Translated by z.

It is basic to have your car in good contitions and to have 4 winter tyres (summer tyres are crap in snow), perfect brakes and a huge, flat parking lot, unused airport, etc.

First lesson: start....stop
Don't laugh, for the first time you'll probably have no success.. It is important to practice starting out from a standstill. Look for a sign (cone, paper box, etc), accelerate approx. 30-50 km/h. Try and stop at the aimed sign. Slipping over the finishline, or stopping before it are both wrong. You must _know_ where your car will stop.

2nd lesson: straight drive
Again, don't laugh. This can be a difficult task on icey/snowy surfaces. Try and raise your practicing speed (not 150kph!).

Third lesson: Straight driving + fishtailing
Accelerate to 30-40kph and swing the tail of the car by turning the steering wheel left-right. Feel the limits! (depends on tyres, snow depth and other circumstances)

Fourth lesson: Straight driving + fishtail + drifting
Do the same as above but try and get over the limitations. Car will slip and drift. Stop it by braking gently (that is why you need a large flat area) or by pushing the clutch and wait for the car getting back under your control.

Fifth lesson: slalom
Find your way between cones (tyres, paper boxes, etc). Your goal is the same as in the third lesson, but try and keep it under your control much more. Your aim is to get the rear of the car brake out, and use this movement for choosing the desired direction. The point is to get the oversteered car back into straight.

What to do in a hard oversteer situation (3 answers) :
release throttle (carefully!), steer to opposite direction, set front wheels into the desired direction, wait till the car looses speed. Remember that during this your car drifts to the side. Imagine a ditch or some trees there...
2.: you do not release throttle, and increase oversteering. Now you did a nice powerslide!
3.: you push the clutch and wait the car for getting into straight direction, while do some steering-wheel correction (in the desired direction).

When these above are practiced well, you are at a level of safe city traffic driving, without any powerslide or such. If an unintended slip or drift happens, you can safely control your car without panic.

Sixth lesson: higher speed turns
Drive arond a large circular track, try and feel when the car slips, and what it does.

Seventh lesson:
The same as above, but you are constantly driving at the edge, You control the tail by the throttle. Otherways it will understeer - or spin around. Try to control it safely. This is the real beginning. After practicing this, you are still not able to do the same around any radius, any snow circumstances. Beginners often do their first faults at this point. (Too much self-confidence after the first success). Remember that a fault in city traffic can cause expenses and injuries or worse!

8-th lesson: shape of an "eight" with powerslide
Do the 8-shape. Don't miss this with the 360+360 turn almost on a few square meters. The goal is to switch the direction of the oversteer. You use the fishtailing effect now.

When these above are well practiced, then you can use cones, tyres, paper boxes, etc to create some kind of turn, corner, etc, and practice on. Your knowledge is now enough to drive in town more safely, maybe sometimes with a little fishtail on the snow. You are able to control it.

This is more than enough for your first winter. When you dont make any faults, you drive 95% OK, you can try the first mountain road. You will do this in the night, because you can realize the opposite traffic of their headlights. For the first time use your own (well-known) track only. First do the right turns. Then you will have a one-track-wide room - in case of any fault.

IMPORTANT! The 3-children family approaching in the opposite direction would like having a few more years of happyness.