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> Driving In Snow, for those down south, that's white stuff
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Swanny 
Posted: 26-Dec-2004, 04:22 AM
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Since the biggest news story of the day is that folks who have never seen snow in their lives in the southern part of the Lower-48 now have to learn to drive in the stuff, I thought I'd share a trick or two, and maybe convince other northern tier folks to do the same.

First rule for driving in snow is try to avoid driving in snow if you don't know how or if your ride isn't equipped for it.

If you own a two-wheel drive pickup truck, take the bus. At the very least put two or three hundred pounds worth of sandbags or other ballast into the bed. Trucks are very light in the rear end so the back wheels have a bad habit of passing the front wheels when the roads are slick.

Put some decent rubber under that thing. All season tires should be referred to as "no season" tires. The rubber formulation isn't sticky enough to work well in snow or ice. If the law allows, studded tires are a plus. If the law doesn't allow studs, consider having your winter tires siped. If you live in an area that only rarely gets snow, a set of tire chains is a good investment as you can install them only when you need them.

Clean the snow off all the glass and off the hood before driving off so you can see what the heck you are trying to do (peep-hole drivers are a pet peeve). Also brush the snow off the hood. That's 'cause when you start driving the snow will blow into the heater vents and fog up your windshield.

NEVER spin your wheels. That's right, NEVER!! When you spin the wheels it creates friction, which creates heat, which melts snow or ice and puts a layer of water between your tire and the snow or ice, making the surface even more slippery. Be gentle on the throttle, give just enough power to turn the wheels without spinning them and you'll get around while your neighbors are standing around with shovels in hand, staring at you.

If you have an automatic tranny, you can avoid spinning your wheels by putting the car into 2nd gear rather than "Drive". With a manual transmission try starting out in second as well. Starting in a higher gear than normal puts less torque to the axle so the drive wheels will be less likely to spin and you'll be more likely move forward.

Slow down. Way down. Keep lots and lots of room between you and the vehicle ahead 'cause when that idiot in front of you spins out you don't want to become part of his or her collision.

Learn to use your brakes and transmission properly. When approaching stop lights, intersections or idiots that have spun their wheels and spun out ahead of you down shift and let compression slow your ride without locking up the wheels. When braking, use just enough pressure so that the brakes almost, but not quite, lock up. It takes practice to develop the "feel", but if you lock up the wheels you are going to slide into something or someone. A word of warning is in order here. When you have learned to use your tranny and brakes properly remember that the idiot behind you probably hasn't. I'm serious about this - you'll be able to stop more quickly than the vehicle behind you, so watch your mirror and never trust tailgaters.

Learn how to correct from a skid, preferably in a big, empty parking lot or other open space free of expensive obstructions. In a rear wheel drive rig EASE off the throttle, keep your foot OFF the brakes and gently steer in the direction the rear end is sliding. Don't over do it though. If you over correct the rear end will just skid out from you in the other direction and you'll find yourself doing 360s all the way to the point of impact. If you have a 4 wheel drive or front wheel drive rig practice is even more important. Instead of backing off the throttle you'll want to maintain the same amount of throttle pressue. Some rigs will recover better if you gently give them a bit more fuel. Just practice with it in a big empty parking lot and you'll soon figure out what works best for your ride.

Here is a website with more good winter driving tips. http://www.tdc.ca/driving.htm

Wishing you a SAFE and happy New Year: Swanny








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VetteGal 
Posted: 26-Dec-2004, 05:07 AM
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Swanny,
Thanks for the tips on snow driving. My father always told me that when the first snow hits to go into a large parking lot and practice stopping, and turning, every year since the vehicle might have changed a bit since the last one. Plus, you might not remember how it handles. Plus, for all the carnuts out there, DONUTS!!!! And one more thing, just because the speed limit is X that doen't mean you have to do X. I will usually be close to it if I can safely do it, but if I don't think it it safe then I will only do what I feel I can safely travel and still stop safely. This is the time of year for really defensive driving, just think that the other drivers have no clue on how to drive in snow and drive accordingly.


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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 26-Dec-2004, 06:18 AM
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One tip that helped me learn years ago is this: Pretend you have an uncooked egg between your foot and the brake and gas pedals. You must apply pressure to the pedals gradually enough and gently enough that you don't break the egg.


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maisky 
Posted: 28-Dec-2004, 10:21 AM
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Sir Swanny, thanks for the Excellent advice! I know from personal experience that the things you recomend are right on the mark. thumbs_up.gif
An additional tip: for driving on freeway with snow and ice, watch the cars following each other on the ice. Don't drive there. Traction is MUCH better on snow than ice. The coefficient of friction is NOT forgiving. biggrin.gif


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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 29-Dec-2004, 06:56 AM
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My wife's aunt had a sterling piece of advice for my wife and her cousin (when they were teen agers) after they had been in a fender bender. "If you'd had kept your ass at home it wouldn't have happened."
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