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Old 01-30-2008, 03:00 PM   #1
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Winter Driving Tips

I was wondering if it would be beneficial if we came up with some winter driving tips for RS members.

I'm no expert, believe me, but have picked up some tips from other drivers and from my own experiences.

Here's a start....... please correct me if I'm wrong on anything and add to the info if you can.


======================

First and foremost, know your car.

Does it have ABS (anti-lock braking system)?
Does it have stability control?
Is it front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, 4 wheel drive, or all wheel drive?

Next, make sure you do the following before you leave.

Walk around your vehicle to make sure your lights are intact and working, and tires are inflated and in good condition (tread wear). If your tires are old, check the tire wear by looking for the "wear" markers.

Remove all snow - from roof down to hood. You may be able to see for the moment, but that accumulated snow will spell disaster for you later. Plus, it isn't pleasant for the guy behind you who has to go through all the snow that blows off your car as you drive down the freeway.

Make sure your wipers are in good condition and your windshield washer fluid is of the winter kind that is good to -40.

Make sure you carry an emergency kit (water, food, flashlight, blanket, etc.), shovel, sand, salt, etc. Make sure cell phone is fully charged.

Stopping in snow or ice.

Apply constant pressure but not to the point you lose traction and start to skid. Release as soon as you detect any skidding. Do not pump the brakes. Release slowly but do not take foot off the pedal. Reapply pressure as soon as traction is detected again. Apply less pressure each time.

Emergency stopping.

If you have to stop in an emergency and I mean really stop quickly, as in the brick wall is a few hundred feet away, slam on the brakes. I know this sounds crazy, but you need to stop the wheels from turning immediately - lock the wheels. You will immediately start to slide/skid. If your car is in good operating condition, the skid should be pretty much controlled. As soon as you start to skid, immediatly release the brakes. Once you release the brakes, the tires will take grip at a slower speed. If you didn't panic after the slamming of the brakes part, you should have kept the steering wheel facing the direction of travel. As soon as the tires grip the surface, your car will slow down and head in the right diirection. If you car slowed down, but not enough, you need to lock the wheels up again and repeat this procedure. This, in essence, is what ABS does automatically. It unlocks the brakes at a very high rate as soon as the wheels lock up, slowing the car down safely. So, back to the part where you should know your vehicle -- does your car have ABS? If you do, none of the above is going to help you. Let the ABS do its job. Also, none of what has been said or a good ABS equipped vehicle will stop you if your tires won't grip in the first place (gotta have good winter tires).

In certain cases, you may need to steer away from a head on collision or a rear ender and take the next best alternative and that is to end up in a ditch or on the shoulder of the road. Much higher survival rate than a head on collisiion. Your car may be toast, but at least you'll live to pay off the next car.

In any case, hopefully nobody has to resort to emergency stopping. Always leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep track of where everybody is - drive defensively. Do not drive if you are tired or preoccupied. Winter driving requires absolute full attention. Reaction time is crucial when road conditions are not optimal.

Make sure you have good snow or ice radials. All seasons are an absolute joke in winter driving conditions. Still, they are better than summer tires. Make sure you have 4 winter tires. Two snows, in many cases, may actually cause more problems than driving without winter tires. Snow and ice radials are manufactured out of special rubber compouds that keep flexible even in extreme cold temperatures. If tires stiffen up due to extreme cold, the tread has no chance to move to get rid of built up ice and snow, and sipe water. There are plenty of good ice radials and tires out there. Make sure they have the winter tire rating symbol stamped on the sidewall of the tire - the symbol of the mountan and snow flake. Anything else is a waste of money. M+S rating is a mud and snow rating. Most of these tires are not good on ice or compacted snow. Some of the best rated tires to get are, the Nokian (some Norweigian manufacturer) and the Michelinn X-Ice or Arctic Alpin. If you're a Costco member, they carry Michellin tires. Cambodian Tire also carries Michelin. Having good winter tires are so important, so don't cheap out. You can cheap out on a lot of things in life, this isn't one of them.

Other things you need to know. If you are involved in an accident where someone rear ends you, you are not at fault. However, if the impact forces you into another vehicle in front of you, you are partially at fault. So, leave plenty of room between you and the car ahead even at a complete stop. I've avoided being hit and hitting other cars because of this - always keep one eye on the rear view mirror and wait till the last possible moment to pull ahead. Some people are so careless that they might not see you until the last possible moment. If you inch up or leave too soon, the brake lights on your car will not be on and the driver will keep going thinking you are not at a full stop or stopping.
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Old 01-30-2008, 04:18 PM   #2
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good tips. good post.

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Old 01-30-2008, 04:24 PM   #3
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Why some people insist on using summer tires and don't slow down in the snow is beyond me
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Old 01-30-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Good tips! If you read this and follow along you will be sucessful. I agree with the winter tire selection. I run blizzacks and I'm passing SUV's up hills in my fwd car.
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Old 01-30-2008, 04:55 PM   #5
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For RWD cars if you lose traction around a corner don't Break, add more gas.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:03 PM   #6
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heres a tip. if u need these tips. then stay home
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:05 PM   #7
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If you don't feel confident and it's not necessary for you to drive, don't!

When going up a steep hill, avoid stopping.

If you would like to drive at a very very slow speed in order to feel comfortable, do so BUT PLEASE LET OTHER CARS PASS! It is absolutely fine for you to make your own judgment regarding how yourself drive, but don't force other people to follow your own standard.

Once a jeep was going 20km/h downhill. I think that's too slow but I'm fine if that's what she feels comfortable at. So after following a safe distance behind her and judged that it is safe, I passed her on the outside. She rapidly honked at me for passing her, what a bitch.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:41 PM   #8
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Another one I just thought of. When I leave the driveway and I'm on the road out of the sub division, I test the road by appplying the brakes firmly. In cold weather, black ice is very hard to see at times, so I do this to be aware of road conditions in my neighbourhood.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:47 PM   #9
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What the heck is Cambodian tire?
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by matrixfwd
What the heck is Cambodian tire?
Canuck Wheel, Crappy Tire.....
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:08 PM   #11
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Originally posted by 89blkcivic
Another one I just thought of. When I leave the driveway and I'm on the road out of the sub division, I test the road by appplying the brakes firmly. In cold weather, black ice is very hard to see at times, so I do this to be aware of road conditions in my neighbourhood.
I agree with that!

It is always a good idea to test out your car and the road condition when it's safe to do so, it is part of "Understanding Your Car". You would never know when your car would accidentally slide if you have never purposely slided. You might not always have a chance to find a huge parking lot to test, but at least you can always do a straight road brake test to find about the road condition and speed you can drive before ABS applies.

IMO the only way to drive safely under the limit is to first EXCEED it in a controlled condition and know exactly where the limitation is set.
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:37 PM   #12
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good tips.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gachinto

When going up a steep hill, avoid stopping.

If you would like to drive at a very very slow speed in order to feel comfortable, do so BUT PLEASE LET OTHER CARS PASS! It is absolutely fine for you to make your own judgment regarding how yourself drive, but don't force other people to follow your own standard.
QFT! I still remember that time going up nanaimo ... I was following a camaro (I think thats what it was.. it's been a while) and it was going really slow so I decided to pass the person. I looked at my side mirrors to see the integra that was behind me stay in that lane behind the camaro. Both cars ended up stuck in front of nanaimo station because the integra didn't pass the camaro
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:33 PM   #14
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Yesterday I was the first and only person to witness a woman getting smoked by a moving train. Needless to say, her car was written off. Reason for her car sliding into the head of the train was that she applied her e-brake while going down a very steep hill into the train tracks.

Obviously this is probably the dumbest thing you could do. I'm glad the lady is alive, but she honestly should take a driving course or read this thread.
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:12 PM   #15
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Like others have said: When going up a steep hill, keep going.
If you stop and wait for this person, you're more than likely gonna get stuck in the same situation as the person in front of you.

I passed like 3 cars around my house in my friend's beater Swift cause they all stopped and got stuck. Luckily, I passed them (albeit in a res area) otherwise, i'd be stuck with them and I'd be forced to reverse down the hill onto Broadway.

Again, if you're gonna take on a steep hill, keep going. Forget the other drivers and keep going.

If you're driving stick;
Don't be afraid of riding your clutch. Your clutch costs less than your car, and if that's what it takes to avoid losing traction, do it. Be super soft and don't jerk the car. Ride the clutch if you get stuck. Rock the car back and forth a couple inches if you're on flat ground. that will pack the snow up around your tire and leave a clear patch of pavement for starting.

If you're driving Automatic:
Hold the brakes with your left foot and hold your RPMs with the throttle. In the snow, your left foot on the brakes are basically your clutch. Slowly let off the brakes as you move since this will help you control the car easier. This is particularly useful going uphill. if you're on flat ground, just left off the brakes and put it in D2 if needed. Going downhill? use the tranny to engine brake down. Change the gear before reaching the hill and it will keep you off the brakes which mean you're not locking up your tires and losing traction.

Front Wheel Drive:
Yank the ebrake a bit to help you turn when you understeer. Don't wail on the thing, use it in moderation. Pull a bit, ad if that doesn't help, let off and pull more/harder. etc.

Rear Wheel drive:
If you can't steer into a corner, hit the throttle. If you need to steer badly enough, kick the clutch and counter steer. Don't hit the gas if you kick the clutch. If you can't see yourself being able to pull this manuver, take the bus.

If you find yourself steering all over the place but still going straight up a big hill, don't stop. Keep going and steer and counter steer as needed. Your car is more likely to go straight than veer off into traffic in the snow. Look where you want to go, and steer in that direction. Don't make any jerky movements. Brakes, throttle, steering. Unless you really need to countersteer as you're powering up a hill, go as smooth as possible.


If you're too cheap to get snow tires:
Look on Craigslist. More than enough people have snow tires with decent tread that come with steelies for you winter beater. At $80-$300(max) you can't have any reason to cheap out. Ifyou're adamant about your driving ability, at least stay home unless you really need to drive.

Last edited by SpuGen; 01-30-2008 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:22 PM   #16
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one BIG TIP:

4wd doesn't mean you're boss on the road.
you may be able to move in snowy conditions, but that does NOT mean you'll have advantage over others when it comes to an emergency stop.

(not trying to be racist)
alot of caucasion male tend to drive FAST and aggressive in snowy condtions in their 4x4 pickups, but that really isn't the smartest thing to do...
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:47 PM   #17
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Awesome tips - now I wish more people in West Van would listen to them....just cos the car is a bimmer doesn't make YOU a good driver
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:37 AM   #18
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What do you guys mean by going uphill and not stop?
You mean if it's like single lane and the rwd car infront is stuck, do I just go around him??
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:19 AM   #19
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Good tips but in reality most drivers (even good drivers) panic in snowy and icy weather and make stupid mistakes and forget the basics.
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Old 01-31-2008, 06:58 AM   #20
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If you're driving an auto and you're going down a back alley and your brakes aren't workin' like they're supposed to, flip the gear in to Neutral, you'll be able to control the car a lot better. This goes for if you're going down any hill or if you're harsh skidding when braking in traffic. This seriously works wonders.
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by yau1225
one BIG TIP:

4wd doesn't mean you're boss on the road.
you may be able to move in snowy conditions, but that does NOT mean you'll have advantage over others when it comes to an emergency stop.

(not trying to be racist)
alot of caucasion male tend to drive FAST and aggressive in snowy condtions in their 4x4 pickups, but that really isn't the smartest thing to do...

I noticed that too, its like wtf

just cuz u got 4x4 plus big tires doesnt mean u will stop 100 feet earlier than everyone else...fucking idiots

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Old 01-31-2008, 07:35 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alphamale
If you're driving an auto and you're going down a back alley and your brakes aren't workin' like they're supposed to, flip the gear in to Neutral, you'll be able to control the car a lot better. This goes for if you're going down any hill or if you're harsh skidding when braking in traffic. This seriously works wonders.


never heard that b4~ thought u are suppose to down shift

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Old 01-31-2008, 07:42 AM   #23
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good post. Anybody have anymore tips??
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:07 AM   #24
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Clean the headlights and all the lights on your vehicle. Especially those who drive on the freeway. One day of salt, sand, and grime will render the lights useless. DRL have been proven to work, so if your car doesn't come equipped with them, turn your headlights on.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:27 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alphamale
If you're driving an auto and you're going down a back alley and your brakes aren't workin' like they're supposed to, flip the gear in to Neutral, you'll be able to control the car a lot better. This goes for if you're going down any hill or if you're harsh skidding when braking in traffic. This seriously works wonders.
bad tip!
i dunno where u got this from but cruising under neutral on any downhill with a 5spd or auto will cause u to lose traction even on dry summer roads
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