Happy New Year from JIS! With the start of a new year know one thing is certain -winter is here! If you can’t avoid driving in snowy, icy, slushy or rainy conditions, here are some tips from Lease Japan to make your drive safer this winter.
Posted speed limits are designed for ideal road conditions. Slow down and give yourself twice the normal braking distance on slippery roads. The best way to anticipate road conditions is to watch the cars ahead of you. If they are slipping, so will you.
If you do encounter a problem, respond well; in a braking skid/lockup, reduce pressure on the brakes and pump gently. In a cornering skid, reduce power- but don’t use the brake, and steer in the direction you want to go. If you over-steer and suddenly regain traction, you will shoot off in whatever direction the tires are facing! Don’t use cruise control in slippery conditions, because wheel-spin and loss of control requires you reduce power to stop, but cruise control will continue to apply power and spin your wheels until it is disengaged.
Other things to keep in mind when driving in ice and snow:
Look out for “black ice.” Be especially careful on bridges and at intersections, and pay particular attention to low areas where water pools.
Avoid overconfidence. AWD/4WD etc… will not help you around a snow-covered turn or stop you at an icy intersection.
Use your headlights. It will make you more visible to other drivers in poor weather.
Don’t drive with badly worn or under-inflated tires. Remember to check your tire pressure regularly, as cold weather makes the pressure drop.
Carry tire chains. If you live in an area of heavy snowfall, consider snow tires. Even if you have snow tires, tire chains are a good idea. They offer your best chance at traction in ice and snow.
Care for your windshield. Replace your windshield wiper blades, clean your windows inside and out, and use a water-beading product on the outside of all windows and mirrors. Don’t forget to top off your windshield washer system with an anti-icing fluid.
Run the air-conditioner on hot and select the fresh air option to remove condensation from inside windows.
Use low beams in fog or heavy snow.
Use common sense, and pay attention to the road!
One of the easiest ways to make your stay in Japan easier and more rewarding is having a car. A car gives you, and your family, the freedom to explore Japan at your own pace, without worrying about buying tickets, missing your stop, or communicating with the conductor. If you are interested in leasing or buying a car, Lease Japan can provide a hassle free and cost effective alternative for exactly the length of time that you need it. All leases come bundled with support packages that include insurance, emergency road side service, Maintenance, Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) card, and access to our 24 hour English Helpline that make them a tremendous value, and the easiest way to have a car in Japan. Browse available vehicles and read free guides to leasing or buying a car in Japan at www.leasejapan.com.
Some things to keep in mind if you are driving in Japan:
The Japanese drive on the LEFT side of the road.
You can use an international driver’s license for up to one year after your arrival in Japan, after this you must apply for a Japanese driver’s license. You cannot simply get another international license!
Seatbelts are required for both the driver and all passengers.
A child-seat is required for children under years old
The legal blood alcohol limit in Japan is ZERO. One beer and you may not drive!
In car parks, it is common to back into spots, rather than pull in. The reason for this is that Japanese car parks are very tight, and you may find yourself stuck and unable to back out of a space you’ve pulled into!
After your international license expires after 1 year, converting your foreign license to a Japanese license on your own can be a time-consuming, expensive, and frustrating experience, but Japan Driver’s License has experienced bilingual coordinators have extensive knowledge of the foreign license conversion process in Japan full service conversion assistance, tools, and information about obtaining a Japanese driver’s license are available at www.japandriverslicense.com.