Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving



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Traction is the force used to produce or create motion by the use of dry friction between a body and a tangential surface.

While driving, the three most important factors that affect traction include:

From the above, you can see that if you need to take a certain route, there is not much that you can do about the first two factors (related to the road), however you do have control over the condition of your tires.

See tires for more information.

? Questions:

🛈 Info:

Thinking Technical Traction

? Why do cars lose traction?

Cars can lose traction for various reasons, most of which involve conditions that compromise the grip of the tires on the road surface. Traction is critical for acceleration, steering, and stopping. When a car loses traction, it means the tires can no longer grip the road properly, affecting the driver's ability to control the vehicle. Here are some common reasons why cars lose traction:

  • Wet or Slippery Surfaces: Rain, ice, snow, and even leaves can create slippery road conditions. When the road is wet or icy, the friction between the tire and the road surface is significantly reduced, leading to potential loss of traction.

  • Speeding: At higher speeds, it's easier for a car to lose traction, especially during turns or sudden maneuvers. The centrifugal force may exceed the tires' grip on the road, leading to skidding or sliding.

  • Sudden Changes in Direction: Sharp turns or sudden lane changes can cause the tires to lose their grip on the road, especially if these actions are performed too quickly or with too much force.

  • Poor Tire Condition: Worn-out tires with reduced tread depth have a significantly lower ability to grip the road, particularly in wet conditions. Bald tires can hydroplane on water, leading to a loss of control.

  • Improper Tire Inflation: Both underinflated and overinflated tires can affect a car's traction. Underinflation can increase the tire's footprint and cause it to overheat, while over inflation reduces the amount of tire surface that contacts the road.

  • Uneven Road Surfaces: Potholes, bumps, and uneven road textures can disrupt the contact between the tires and the road, causing temporary loss of traction.

  • Heavy Acceleration or Braking: Applying too much power on acceleration can cause the drive wheels to spin (especially in powerful rear-wheel-drive cars), while braking too hard can lock up the wheels, both of which result in a loss of traction.

  • Vehicle Load: An improperly loaded or overloaded vehicle can affect its balance and stability, impacting the tires' ability to maintain traction.

  • Oil or Fluid Spills: Spills on the road surface can create a slick layer that reduces friction between the tires and the road, leading to traction loss.

  • Differential Lock: In vehicles equipped with a differential lock, using this feature inappropriately on dry pavement can cause traction issues due to the forced synchronization of wheel speeds across an axle.

Understanding these factors is crucial for maintaining control of a vehicle under various driving conditions. Proper maintenance of tires, adjusting driving style to the conditions, and being aware of the road environment can significantly reduce the risk of losing traction.

🛈 Factors affecting traction of a vehicle

Traction is the ability of a vehicle to maintain grip on the road surface and maintain control while accelerating, braking, or turning. Several factors can affect the traction of a vehicle, including:

  • Road surface: The condition of the road surface can have a significant impact on the traction of a vehicle. Wet, icy, or snowy roads reduce traction, while dry, clean roads provide more traction.

  • Tire condition: The condition of the tires, including tread depth and tire pressure, can significantly affect traction. Worn or underinflated tires reduce traction and increase the risk of losing control of the vehicle.

  • Weight distribution: The way the weight is distributed in the vehicle can affect traction. Vehicles with a heavier load or with passengers sitting on one side can affect the balance of the vehicle and reduce traction.

  • Suspension system: The condition and quality of the suspension system can affect the traction of the vehicle. A worn suspension system can cause the wheels to bounce and lose contact with the road, reducing traction.

  • Type of vehicle: The type of vehicle can affect traction. Vehicles with four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive tend to have better traction than those with only two-wheel drive.

  • Driving style: The way a vehicle is driven can also affect traction. Abrupt acceleration, braking, and turning can cause the wheels to lose traction, reducing control and increasing the risk of an accident.

Overall, maintaining good traction is essential for safe driving. Drivers should ensure that their vehicle is well-maintained, drive according to the road conditions, and adjust their driving style to maintain good traction at all times.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving