HOME > Northern Road Guide, for your safety and comfort > Techniques for Driving on Winter Roads

Traveling on slopes


Ascending a slope

When ascending, you should be in an appropriately low gear, acceleration should be constant, and enough room should be left to the car ahead.


Descending a slope

When descending, deceralate beforehand, then downshift, and use the braking force of your engine. At this time, the center of gravity will shift forward, and the rear of the car will feel light. Rapid braking or downshifting will cause the car to fishtail.


Driving at curves


Left curve

Decelerate sufficiently before turning, and keep at a moderate speed while driving a curve. Skidding at a left curve will cause you to fishtail to the right.


Right curve

This will cause the car to enter the oncoming lane. Skidding at a right curve will cause you to fishtail to the left. This will cause the car to run off the road.





Sudden braking causes the tires to lock, making the tires skid and the car difficult to stop. Brake gently, so as to keep the tires from skidding. (soft braking)


During Snowstorm

Turn on your headlights,  slow down, keep a safe distance!

It’s important to make other cars aware of your presence. Turn on your headlights, and slow down and keep a safe distance, in case the car ahead of you stops suddenly.


Be wary of snow blown up by heavy vehicles.

Visibility worsens when heavy vehicles blow up snow. If an oncoming heavy vehicle goes by or a heavy vehicle overtakes you, turn on the wipers and slow down as soon as possible.


Brush off accreted snow at a safe place.

If snow sticks to your headlights or taillights, your car can become hard to see. If snow sticks to the wipers, they won’t work effectively. Brush the snow off somewhere safe – somewhere that’s not on the road.



Be aware of the road surface conditions.

In winter, road sections that are shaded, that pass over bridges, or that exit or enter tunnels are prone to freezing even if the roads elsewhere are generally free of snow and ice. On cold nights and early in the morning, roads are particularly prone to freezing. Even if the surface looks black, it can still be icy (black ice). Be very watchful.

Don't put too much confidence in 4WD cars.

Four-wheel-drive cars have an advantage over 2WD cars in terms of driving safety and starting from a stop, but don’t let that make you overconfident: They also tend to be heavy. Slow down enough before curves and intersections.

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