Viaje a la nieve: qué precauciones tener para enfrentar una ruta distinta en vacaciones de invierno

Both on the way to the destination and once settled in the place of rest, snowfall can cover the routes in a few hours and you have to know how to drive in these conditions.

This weekend, a good part of the Argentine provinces begin the winter holidays, and with it, a large volume of cars will hit the roads heading to the various tourist destinations in the Argentine Andes Mountains.

After a full winter without being able to leave home due to the pandemic in 2020, and the next with very little snow in the main ski resorts in Argentina, many families have decided to go to northern Patagonia or Mendoza.and many of them, without much prior planning, taking advantage of the fact that in recent weeks, cities like San Carlos de Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes, Esquel or Las Leñasthey have enough snow to spend a holiday practicing winter sports in complete safety of fun.

But for the fun to be total, it is very important to know how to prepare and prepare the car that will hit the roadnot only to reach your destination without problems, but also to be able to drive safely during rest days. There will be a lot of snow, of that there is no doubt.

The large amount of snow that is falling these weeks in the winter ski centers will make many cars travel from all over the country to the tourist cities of the Andes Mountains
The large amount of snow that is falling these weeks in the winter ski centers will make many cars travel from all over the country to the tourist cities of the Andes Mountains

The first thing to know is that driving in the snow, even on ice, in the right conditions is not as difficult as is often imagined. For that, you have to take some precautions, the first, the correct speed. A car, if it loses contact with the ground, stops having a driver and starts to have only passengers.

The National Road Safety Agency, has reported that the Winter Operation started the July 6 and will run until August 3. The prevention task consists of Documentation checks, breathalyzer, speed, use of security elements and use of chains in snowy areas. To these controls, the operation will add assistance for cases of road accidents and before adverse weather conditions such as snow stormsa task that will be carried out jointly with forces in the case of roadblocks.

The ANSV has started the Winter Operation on July 6, and will maintain it until August 3.  In addition to controlling security elements and chains, they will assist with the problems that the weather may generate on the routes.
The ANSV has started the Winter Operation on July 6, and will maintain it until August 3. In addition to controlling security elements and chains, they will assist with the problems that the weather may generate on the routes.

Beyond complying with these standards, there are things that can be done to improve safety as the journey approaches the final stages, near mountainous areas where weather conditions can be more challenging.

Trying to arrive with daylight is essentialbecause with low temperatures, as soon as the sun goes down, wet or snowy floors can begin to form ice by sectorsespecially in curves where the sun does not arrive from early hours. It is always important to keep in mind that In winter, in mountain areas, the sun is lower and the shade accelerates the frost process even when it is daytime.

Not arriving at night to a destination that may present snow is very important.  When the sun goes down, snow or water on the road can turn into ice
Not arriving at night to a destination that may present snow is very important. When the sun goes down, snow or water on the road can turn into ice

Even so, If the road becomes complicated with snow or ice, both on the journey and at the destination, it will be necessary to stop to place the chains, for which it is essential to look for a flat space and as far away as possible from the asphalt tape or the tracks that will circulate the carsas an inexperienced driver or unchained car trying to pass can lose control and go off the road. Until you find that place to stop, you should drive at low speed, without sudden maneuvers that take off the contact surface of the tires, in addition to not braking or accelerating abruptly, which can produce the same effect. A locked wheel, no matter how much direction is given to it, will follow the direct line of inertia with which the vehicle is traveling. To regain direction, it is essential to slightly release the brake when it is detected that the wheels are locked and not turning, and once the direction is recovered, gently brake again until stopping.

Once a safe place has been found To fit the chains, remember that they should be fitted to the wheels that have traction, because those are the ones that will accelerate without slipping, and also the ones that will act as engine brakes in low gears. Furthermore, they must remain firmly fastened, not too tight so that they do not close properly, nor too loose, because in addition to damaging and detachingit’s possible they could damage vital suspension or steering parts, which could lead to another non-snow accident.

The placement of chains must be done away from the road, on a flat surface, without unevenness, and with the handbrake on.
The placement of chains must be done away from the road, on a flat surface, without unevenness, and with the handbrake on.

Another important piece of advice is that before starting the trip, do a chain-fitting drill at home, and that in addition to keeping them in an easily accessible place in the trunk of the car, bring a pair of good and comfortable gloves. When chains are placed in the middle of a snowy road, the cold usually plays tricks on the hands of those who must do it.

Whether with chains or without them, there are fundamental laws of physics that always apply, but become more sensitive with a slippery floor. Always keep your distance from cars ahead is a useful tip, but since at very low speeds you often fall into the trap of believing that braking will be possible, it’s always good to stay about eight seconds behind the car in front. Thus, both at 20 km/h and 60 km/h, the distance will be sufficient to be able to maneuver or stop if necessary.

The ice can be seen because it does not shine on the asphalt.  Before making contact, slowing down and avoiding sudden maneuvers or braking is the best way to get through it
The ice can be seen because it does not shine on the asphalt. Before making contact, slowing down and avoiding sudden maneuvers or braking is the best way to get through it

If you encounter ice, you can often see it before you feel the wheels slip. Ice tends to look dull, so even if it’s on asphalt, the surface won’t shine like a wet floor. When ice is on snow, a visual difference can also be noticed although it is more difficult to distinguish. If that sudden lack of grip appears, one of the things that can be done to protect yourself from a scare is to gently bite the edge of the track, where there is snow, but this should be done as long as it is with a subtle steering movement. , that allows the back of the tires to touch the thickest wall of snow, and as long as that wall is not too high so that the front bumper gets stuck and causes a spin on the road. Taking one or two wheels off the slippery surface is a way to control the situation, and of course, you always have to do it towards the safe side, which is often the right if you are traveling along a road, since the left hand usually cars coming from the front.

Not everyone has these handy snow or ice scoopers, a plastic discount card is a good substitute.
Not everyone has these handy snow or ice scoopers, a plastic discount card is a good substitute.

Without fear but with caution, holidays in the snow can be a lot of fun, even for those who will live it behind the wheel, as it is an interesting experience to live. One last tip, always try to keep all windows clear of snow. For that, hot water should never be poured to melt it in the morning or at night after having been under temperatures close to or below zero degrees. The best solution is a plastic card, like the discount cards at the supermarket, and a good pair of gloves.and snow and ice will come off easily.

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