Driving Guide

【Frame of Mind for Winter Driving】Tips to keep in mind for winter driving

  • Q1
    Why is attention required on expressways in winter?
    What should you keep in mind when driving?

    Driving normally on snow or frozen roads in winter is hazardous. Please change your thinking to winter mode as well. Rapid acceleration and braking on snow or frozen roads causes spins and is very dangerous. Drive carefully, with "gently" and "slowly" being the keywords for starting off, accelerating or decelerating. Keep a greater distance from the car ahead and try not to drive in a rush.

    What to do When Starting Off?

    For manual transmission vehicles use second gear and start gradually and for automatic transmission (AT) vehicles use the transmission's "creep" phenomenon. Keep in mind to accelerate cautiously and not to spin the tires. AT vehicles are sometimes equipped with functions to suppress sudden acceleration, such as snow mode (*1), it is a good idea to use them. *1: The name and functions differ depending on the manufacturer.

    What About Curves?

    Decrease your speed before taking curves. If you try to turn as you brake, the wheels may suddenly lock causing the steering to become ineffective. Please be aware that it is much easier to lock the wheels under braking on snow covered roads with weak friction forces, even when going straight as well as around curves.

    What About Downhill?

    If you only use the foot brakes on winter roads, the wheels may lock and the brakes not work. When going downhill try to keep in mind to use engine braking to decrease speed and not rely solely on the foot brakes.

  • Q2
    What should you be aware of?
    It is important not to rush when you are driving!

    Refuel Earlier

    Driving on roads in winter requires caution and slower speeds and is therefore more time consuming than usual. Fuel also decreases rapidly. Refuel earlier to cope with unexpected situations.

    Clear Snow off Your Vehicle Before Driving

    Driving with snow piled on your vehicle is dangerous as it may slide onto the windshield when you brake, suddenly obstructing your view. Snow in the wheel wells can also hinder steering so clear it away thoroughly before driving. Do not forget to wipe the snow off the soles of your shoes to prevent your feet slipping off the pedals while you drive.

    When Loading Skis & Snowboards on a Carrier

    When loading skis & snowboards on a carrier, load them with the curved ends at the back of the vehicle. If both ends are curved, it does not matter which way they are loaded but pay attention to your speed as it exposes them to high wind pressure. High wind pressure can cause skis and snowboards or the carrier to fall from your vehicle, resulting in a serious accident (*). Before driving it is important to check that the carrier is securely fastened.* Damage due to fallen objects on the road is the responsibility of owner.

    Pay Attention to Deteriorating Visibility

    In cold weather there are many causes of deteriorating visibility, such as snowstorms, drifting snow, fog etc. Even if the visibility has allowed normal driving so far, it is important to be aware that the weather can deteriorate from now on. If you feel that it is getting difficult to see, please slow down and drive carefully.
    It is very dangerous when the visibility deteriorates so that you cannot see the lights of vehicle ahead and traffic may slow to a crawl. In snowstorms and drifting snow keep your hazard indicators on together with your headlights to let other vehicles know where you are and to avoid collisions due to poor visibility.

    ★ Hint from NEXCO Central Nippon!

    We are taking winter driving safety measures

    NEXCO Central Nippon is taking various measures to ensure driving safety on expressways in winter. For example, there are warning signs posted in slippery places, light-emitting snow poles that guide you when snow obstructs your view and road heating (photo) in cold regions.