DD Motoring: Get a grip this winter

first_imgOur autumn compared to our summer this year has been one of the best in years. Only last weekend I spotted a “show off” in his convertible going topless in October. It’s funny how an action like this by others can focus your attention and your judgement on their attention seeking which can spur you to enjoy or despise their instant reaction to the present weather conditions.I didn’t really think he was a show off. I would probably do the same if I had a convertible myself, but considering how many good warm sunny days we get in Ireland the practicalities of that dream of me owning a convertible were rubbished in the practical part of my petrol heads thinking. Advertisement The weather and the seasons can play a big part in our everyday motoring, even if we do not go the extremes of our convertible friend.When I started driving over thirty years ago the old under-powered cars that we drove seem to go better as the conditions got colder. Part of that might be true but really what was happening was that in the autumn months the cars were were not really going any better in the colder air, they were only losing grip on the road surface.In a car in them days, long before the introduction of Anti Lock Brakes (ABS) and Traction Control Systems (TCS) our main sensor system was (SOTP)! Driving using SOTP or “Driving by the seat of the pants” is based on the feeling in your backside when a car goes over a bump or losses grip of the road.In the cars years ago everything that happened on the road was transferred back through the steering and the suspension to the driver, and that rawness was and early warning to let the driver know that all wasn’t right. Advertisement In the winter months as road conditions change through bad weather and things like mud drawn out of fields on to the road, and later as gritters keep the ice and snow at bay the roads become slippy long before the snow arrived. One sure sign of how little grip you had on the roads was the way the old pre-power steering systems on cars suddenly became lights and easier to use.A set of winter tyres could be the difference for the months ahead.The grip that tyres have on the roads in the summer is completely different that they have in the winter. Road conditions are one of the problems and the drop in temperature effect on a tyres performance is the other.The rubber on a normal tyre hardens when the temperature drops in the winter for most of us it will make very little difference until we have to get stopped in a hurry or we have to change direction on the road very quickly.Winter tyres are not just for snow!Snow tyres have tread patterns specifically designed to bite into snow and ice. They’re made from softer rubber compounds that retain their flexibility in cold weather, allowing the tyre to better conform to the surface of the road; whereas summer and all-season tyres get hard and are less pliable in cold temperatures.As a result, winter tyres give better grip on snowy and icy surfaces than regular all-season or summer tyres. Grip is critical—not just to avoid getting stuck, but to ensure that a vehicle can stop and steer and ensure safety enhancing technologies such as Antilock Braking Systems (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and all-wheel drive can do their jobs. If you do a lot of miles or the nature of your work means that you need to be there no matter what the weather it would be worth you time investing in a set of winter tyres for the winter months, even two good winter tyres on a front wheel drive powered car is money well spent as it also will give your car better steering and braking in the cold winter months.The late Ambrose GivenAs I am putting this motoring piece together for this weeks column, so many have talked about the sudden death of Ambrose Given.He was a man that I didn’t know but in January this year while covering the Mini Stages Rally I captured a photo of him in full flight competing on a special stage in his Honda Civic not far from his home in Convoy.The Late Ambrose Given from Convoy in his Honda Civic on the Mini Stages of the Donegal Rally in January at the start of the year. Pictured By Brian McDaidThe photo was by far the best that I was lucky enough to capture that day standing in the snow in a field near the hump-back bridge on the backroad from Letterkenny to Convoy. My life long friend Packie Keeney from Lifford held night classes in photography at the Old Tech at Ard O’Donnell in Letterkenny many moons ago. I was one of his students. Packie gave us students his knowledge of photography. These night classes were what started to take up photography as a career.As the sad news broke over the Bank Holiday weekend of the sudden death of Ambrose Given at only 39 years of age I soon made the connection that Ambrose was a nephew of the man that taught me photography, Packie Keeney. His post on Facebook gave people like myself who didn’t know Ambrose an idea of the person he was. With Packie my teacher, we both shared his post along with my picture of the late Ambrose in action on the Donegal Minis Stages in January.The post reads as follows:“Kathleen’s godson and my nephew Ambrose Given Jnr. who suddenly departed this life on Friday last to utmost shock and grief. Ambrose (39) was found dead of natural causes in his bedroom in Dublin on Friday where he was employed. A skillful stainless steel welder (in the top 5 in Ireland) who continually worked to laser inspection standards and always got it right first time, was in high demand particularly from companies like Cadburys and Guinness.”“He was a great sports person too and was in demand as a rally co-driver/driver, and in recent times was concentrating on his cycling when 150km would just have been a bit of a dander. On top of all that he was a skilled farmer and enjoyed that engagement at the weekend at home in Convoy.”“His wit, his good nature, and his caring will be just some of the things we will miss, but his loving family Mum & Dad, Sheila and Ambrose Snr. and his 5 loving sisters will experience their own very personal loss. We trust in God that they will get the strength to get through a very difficult week ahead.”Rest In Peace Ambrose.DD Motoring: Get a grip this winter was last modified: November 3rd, 2016 by Brian McDaidShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ambrose givenbrian mc daidmotoringsnow tyressummerwinterlast_img

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