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Winter driving tips?

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  • Winter driving tips?

    The winter gets pretty bad here, so I'm wondering maybe you guys have some good winter driving tips to share (other than the really obvious). I know having winter tires is one of the best solutions, but I cant afford them until after my summer job, so I am stuck with all seasons.

    Last year, I hit a curb (gently) because I was stupid and braked while trying to turn in the ice. I now realize that its best to brake before entering the turn (learned that from GTR2), then release the brake while doing the actual turn. In a turning skid, I found out that quickly letting go of the accelerator, shifting into neutral, then turning the wheel in the direction I want to go is pretty effective. Some sites suggest that you actually accelerate in the turn, but I find that sometimes the wheels spin too fast, lose traction, and keep skidding. Or maybe I am doing something wrong?

    Sometimes I play around in empty parking lots (more ice and snow the better) just to get a feel for how my car handles. Maybe someone has some tips on what I should try next time I find an empty lot? I'm mostly interested in learning whats the best way to regain from a lose of control.

    Feel free to share your various tips, no matter how little. I know being careful and driving slowly is probably most important, but I figure it cant hurt to learn a few techniques just incase.

  • #2
    Easiest way is to never lose control.

    Like in Calgary, we have the Rocky Mountains here in Colorado. I live on the mountain so up and down many thousand foot elevation drops.

    I am guessing since you said "put it in neutral" that is because you have an automatic right? Because if you have a manual, keep it in gear. An auto is absolutely horrible in the snow. You want to keep nice even acceleration when wanting traction. That is why I in my FWD civic, can get up the "hill" (~1800ft elevation change) while 4WD trucks are sliding into mailboxes. With an auto, it does not like high revs, so it shifts down. As soon as that clutch goes away, bye-bye traction. Then when re-engaging, you just spun your tires, and a curb is in your near future.

    So put it in low low gear so it doesnt change gears and drive slowly. Dont "coast" so to say by accelerating then letting it coast down and accelerate. Always either brake or gas for high traction needs.

    Another tip, is usually there are those tracks in the snow where everybody drives. Well most of the time that is ice. So drive off centre in the fresh non-packed snow. Within reason obviously.

    And yes when in a turn, with no control, accelerating can help. But only if the roads are snowy and not icy. If icy, you arent doing a thing but polishing the road for the next idiot. If it is a FWD, and you are skidding, turn the wheel where you want to go. Not opposite of the skid to try and correct. Because then you will need to correct again. Steer where you want.
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    • #3
      1 - Slow down!

      2 - Tire chains

      3 - Don't slam on your brakes, EVER!

      4 - Don't do anything that will distract you from driving. I'll turn off my music when driving in really bad road conditions.

      5 - Do your best to stay in the tire tracks of the car in front of you.
      Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
      How about the Wiki?

      Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.


      • #4
        Really watch your speed. Whenever I am unsure of how slick the conditions are, whether it is dark out or slushy, after I get on the road and no one is behind me, i hit the brakes lightly to sense how slick it really is. I dont slam on the brakes, I just tap them lightly to see how easy it is to slide and adjust speed accordingly. ABS helps a bit, but you will stop quicker if you dont have to use ABS.
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