Not necessarily ... what's really worth bragging about is not having the
need ... the "why" of what all those snowbirds are doing down here, putting
up with the "crackers", during the winter months in the first place.
Living in Fresno, CA in the HOT central valley we had a dusting, guess
you'd call it, of snow and cars were mostly on the curbs and ANY
driving that morning was a real gas! Melted before noon thankfully.
Decent snow tires or all weather radials will help. Then when it snows, you
take your truck into a parking lot (one without the concrete markers and do
a bunch of fishtailing and donuts and sliding stops. Aside from it being a
lot of fun, it will get you used to how your truck handles in the snow.
I haven't been driving regularly for a number of years now, but when I was,
whenever it snowed the first time in a season, I'd do this until my mind
became acclimated again to snow driving. Don't forget to drive slower and
allow greater distance between vehicles. If it's really slippery out, avoid
Weight on the wheels will help with linear traction and braking...BUT...
too much will cause the ass-end to 'pendulum' away on you when you swing
into an unexpected turn.
DO ask me how I know that..*G*
...btw.... when transporting a mother-in-law, it is legal here in
Kanuckistan to leave the gate open.
> All kidding aside, that is one of the things that I have seriously
> considered... I have zero snow experience in a vehicle. Does this
mean > I have to trade my 2wd F-150 for a 4wd? Or just get chains or
similar > traction aiding devices?
I have a 3/4 ton 4 WD pickup that is loaded with tons of equipment. In
snow, for most problems, unless you're willing to jump a snow bank and
drive across someone's front lawn it's only as good as the two wheelers
stuck in front of and behind you.
I love your logic! And my hills aren't all that steep. Traffic (we hope)
won't be as you describe, it is a small town surrounded by same.
However my imagination could see just me and the guy turned sideways on the
little country road.
The -big- secret to driving in bad weather, is 'finesse'. go easy on the
gas pedal, easy on the brakes, and easy on the steering. "Plan ahead",
and minimize the need for abrupt changes.
A 'limited-slip' differential ("Posi-trac", or similar) is a *big* help in
adverse conditions. 4wd is even better (it always includes 'limited-slip'
between wheels), but the advantage of 4-wheel over 2-wheel is minor, compared
to the benefits of limited-slip over a standard rear-end.
Emergency handling (regardless of whether it is snow, rain, or dry-pavement)
characteristics -- and what you do as the driver -- *do* vary greatly,
depending on whether you have front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive.
This is _mostly_ a matter of being familiar with what you have, and knowing
how to use it. Front-wheel drive has some advantage -- mostly in that
it is easier for the _un-skilled_ driver to 'do the right thing'.
Just what the heck are you doing trying to drive on pure black ice? Done a
LOT of winter/blizzard driving all my life, 2 wheel front and rear, 18
wheels. The one thing I learned above all is get off the road when it's
black ice!(if you haven't already slid off the road, that is) Stuck in a
freezing rain on I-69 in IN, drivers on shoulder had to shut the diesels
down because just the vibration of it idling was causing rig to slide off
the shoulder into the ditch.
Front wheel drive may be a little better for the inexperienced who have
learned on it, but if someone has learned and driven on snow with rear wheel
drive, then they will NOT do the right thing with front drive unless they
are thinking about it all the time. Learned rear drive instincts are the
wrong thing to do with front drive.
Limited slip does help, and weight in the back of a p/u helps. I use 5 or 6
long tubes of "traction grit", about 300+ lb. right between the wheel wells
with a wood 2 x 6 frame to keep them from sliding forward. Worse comes to
worse, you can cut them open and spread the grit under the wheels.
One of my favorite gripes are 4 wheel drives. Yes, as someone said, they do
GO, but they don't stop a bit better, and everyone with an SUV suddenly
thinks they're "bulletproof"!
LROD knows where I live, so he knows that I know whereof I speak. I'll get
off the soapbox now.
The greatest headaches are those we cause ourselves.
On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 07:11:05 -0400, "Norman D. Crow"
I have absolutely the same feeling about 4WD (although I love it). You
can go like hell, but...and then I use the exact words you did.
A friend of mine from Minnesota (they know a little about snow
driving, too) put it best years ago as I was moving from Florida to
Illinois for my matriculation--I had asked him about snow tires. He
said he'd never had 'em. And in 26 nears I never had 'em either.
He said it's all about speed control. And he's right. Don't do
anything fast. Don't try to accelerate fast, don't try to slow down
fast, don't try to turn fast, don't try to drive fast. There's a whole
lot more anticipation in snow driving than regular. As we say in
aviation, you have to stay ahead of the airplane.
Someone mentioned the parking lot thing. I used to love to do that,
just for the sport, although I educated SWMBO and trained the two kids
that way. There's nothing more effective for learning how to handle a
car than spinning donuts, slipping and sliding, and reversing
direction on a snow covered parking lot..
You may have noticed I mentioned Chautauqua County elsewhere in this
thread. Not for nothing.
Reminds me of one early morning when I picked up a co-worker to head for the
airport. We reached a slight down hill so I stopped at the top to see the
situation. I told Al "I'm going to go down along the curb so I'll get
traction from the old sand" (from previous snows).
We started down very slowly and Al said "I though you were going to go down
on THIS side."
I replied "so did I"
drive cars are different in how they act in snow. Trucks are VERY
light over the wheels and the back end can let go rather easily. Some
weight in the back is helpful, but can be dangerous in sudden stop
situations. 4 wheel drive certainly helps in starting out, going up
snowy hills and getting out of snow drifts (when you slide into them
or when the snowplow plows you into your driveway). Niether 4 wheel
drive nor limited slip helps in slowing down, stopping or going
downhill though :-)
The best car I ever drove in the snow was an old Checker taxicab...you
know, the ones that look like 1950's cars. They were heavy rear wheel
drive cars. I drove cab all over very hilly Morgantown WV one winter
while in college. Morgantown did not believe in salt. They did a
little plowing and a few cinders but mostly you drove on the packed
Best one this "cracker" ever drove in heavy snow/ice, by far, was a 50's VW
bug, in Bavaria, during two winters of record snow fall. Easy to handle on
ice, and with chains it would go when the snow plows wouldn't. I left the
72' 2002 ti in the garage and drove the bug during blizzard conditions, 28
clicks on mountain roads each way, to the base for days at a time.
It _had_ to be the car, cuz apparently "crackers", particularly those not
impressed with snow driving braggadocio, aren't supposed to know how to
Well the first time will surely be a fun trip for you.
If you are concerned (and you should be) get a neighbor to take you to a
large unplowed parking lot. Get behind the wheel and let it rip. After a
few slides and spins, you'll find it just takes a light touch and thinking
ahead. Snow is not bad at all, but ice can be terrifying.
Some people should not drive in the snow at all. I was going to work one day
and saw lights flashing around a bend. When I got there a car had slid off
the side. Nothing serious, but it had to be pulled out by a tow truck. On
the way home that evening as I crested a hill, a car going down was off the
side of the road. Yep, same one.
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