How to drive a car abroad?
A series of tips: life stories and recommendations – mine and more experienced car travelers
How it all began?
I started driving a car for a long time: since 1950.
Of course, at the beginning – as a passenger, and in the front seat. Then the rules were not so strict – no belts, no restrictions for children.
Father’s work in Switzerland was associated with a large number of trips, and in some of them he took me with him.
On these trips, apparently, I was infected with the sweet drug of autotravel. Landscapes along the roads of Switzerland, now well-known to many, have the magic of quickly changing mountains and valleys, tunnels and bridges, unexpected turns of serpentine tracks.
Here are two cases that have struck into the memory of their then (and now!) Rarity to the brink of impossibility.
1. Our ambassadorial Chevrolet overtook, cutting, a long black car, and rushed forward.
Father did not like it, his sports passion forced to press the gas pedal. He knew this road well, Berne – Geneva, and therefore calmly began to catch up on the deserted road the departed “offender”.
And when the overtaking was far from immediate, but still succeeded, at a speed of over one hundred kilometers per hour (at that time it was not enough), we both looked out the right window, wanting to triumphantly pull up our noses, and saw a black “Horch” driving… old woman, with fluttering gray hair, about ninety years old in appearance, kindly pointing her hand in a black lace glove – give way.
Now on the roads of Europe you can meet a young girl who easily and naturally drives a huge fuel truck (the great-granddaughter of that old woman? Or – like her?).
Moral: the women there driving – often and for a long time, they are confident in driving and do not create problems on the road.
Fountain on Lake Geneva.
2. The second case relates to the difficulties of mountain roads in general, and especially in winter. But I will start with the third case, although from the winter period, but which happened on a flat road, and quite Russian. Since Khimki 1984.
December. I drive a car. Ahead of traffic jam. I start to slow down on clean, seemingly dry asphalt. I hear the “hissing” of the wheels, without signs of braking the car: under the wheels is the thinnest, invisible ice. Barely, turning the wheel, intermittently pressing the brake pedal, stop. The cork moves slowly, circling the swarming of a crowd of people in the right lane of the road. I see eleven bodies lying on the sidelines in their overcoats, their faces are covered with army flaps. At a distance, the overturned ZIL truck. An inexperienced soldier lost control. In the open truck were rookies boys.
And so a few words about driving a car in winter conditions.
The presence of winter tires (it is mandatory in the winter in many countries!) Should be supplemented by the use of special driving techniques that increase traffic safety:
– the right choice of speed mode;
– smooth steering movements, the absence of sharp increases in engine speed and sudden braking;
– in case of doubt about good grip, you should regularly in safe areas, check the reliability and stability of braking by gently pressing the brake pedal; when there are signs of wheel lock (sliding without deceleration) and / or uneven braking, reduce the speed to a minimum, up to a complete stop, waiting for a change in the road situation, or for transporting the car to a car service to fix the brake system;
– with a sudden sharp drop in the temperature of the outside air, the appearance of precipitation (especially “freezing rain”); if it is suspected that the temperature of the road surface is much lower than the air temperature (for example, during sudden warming after severe frosts, which inevitably leads to condensation of moisture on the road and its icing), it is necessary to carefully monitor the condition and appearance of the road surface: a thin ice crust may appear in a matter of minutes, especially on blown sites, on bridges and overpasses; this crust is manifested – with a special brilliance in the reflected rays of light, as well as the fact that its “rustling” is heard at the slightest touch on the brake pedal.
Now, back in 1952. We went on an excursion to the mountain village of Kental in Switzerland. For all Soviet citizens, this excursion was almost obligatory – before the revolution V.I. Lenin lived and worked there (a famous traveler who for some reason left absolutely nothing to us on the topic of road manners).
Behind the next turn of the serpentine, a huge gorge opened, from which a strong wind blew. At the turn, despite the speed of about 5 km / h, the bus (like the Russian PAZ), despite the chains on wheels (always in the winter in the mountainous regions!), Slipped to the cliff. When the driver stopped him, I saw through the window the bottom of the gorge, several hundred meters deep. The cliff was almost under the edge of the wheel. Everyone got off the bus, barely keeping their balance on the slippery fresh ice crust on top of the crushed snow. From the conversations of adults, it became clear that the wind carried moisture from the valley.
The driver poured sand under the wheels, the passengers pushed the bus away from the cliff and we drove off.
After 4 hours, on the way back, fresh ice was blown by a drier wind, the road became almost safe.
Monument to A.V.Suvorov and his associates in the Alps. A piece of land donated to Russia by the Swiss Confederation. On the opposite side of the gorge – Devil’s Bridge.
Tip: On any winter trip, grab a bag with 2-5 kilograms of coarse sand (useful to pour in case of difficulty when starting off on ice, especially on an uphill slope).
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