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Winter Driving - are you prepared?



  • I have several different modes and types of transportation, and all are different in SNOW. My Silverado has climbed over three foot snow piles without even looking twice. My Grand Am doesn't even like the rain. But it doesn't matter if you have a small car, 4x4, front or rear wheel drive, SUV, or pick-up, you can still crash. AWD and 4x4 people do think nothing can happen to them, just watch a lot of them. These vehicles ARE better in snow, no real argument. But, NO MATTER what you drive, ice WILL get you. we are talking about rubber on top of ice and physics take over. Please, everyone, no matter what you drive, respect the road conditions.
  • excellent point on the ice..and agian slow down and take your time....i have both awd and 4x4 and i do believe that i can be involved in an accident just as likely as anyone..i have equipped both of our vehicles with blizzaks to help achieve all advantages....
  • vibsrvibsr Posts: 47
    Well put! Many of the slide-offs that I've seen involved 4WD vehicles. 4WD, AWD, and FWD have a distinct advantage over RWD on takeoff, but stopping is another matter. I often look at it this way: Inability to move the vehicle is an inconvenience, but the inability to stop the vehicle can be deadly. Give the road crews time to clean the roads. Patience is a virtue.
  • I live in Boston and we just had our first real significant storm this past weekend. All I can say is after living on my own for a few years, I've come to realize how important it is to think and plan ahead for the winter. With my new FWD car, I did the following:

    1. Bought a seperate set of wheels and winter tires jsut for this season. Will change back to the OEMs when spring arrives. The wheels are 1 in smaller than my OEM wheels to help increase traction and control.

    2. Got myself a new portable shovel that I can stick in the back of the car.

    3. Keep my battery jump-start juiced up.

    4. Top all my fluids. Pumped more air into my tires to keep them properly inflated.

    5. Give my car at least 2-5 min. of warmup time as the morning temps have been as low as 5 degrees the last two days.

    Besides that, the only thing that is concerning me is actually my GF's car. Has anyone every heard of Sternling tires???
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "I often look at it this way: Inability to move the vehicle is an inconvenience, but the inability to stop the vehicle can be deadly."

    Actually the inability to move can be deadly as well. The inability to stop in any condition shows poor driving skill. I often wonder why both Civics and SUVs alike and everything in-between are involved in car crashes after the first storm.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I don't think that any car/truck has an advantage over one another in snow/ice. What really matters is:

    driver skill
    good tires (dedicated snows)
    stability control

    The reason someone brought up SUVs is that some owners may feel a bit of over confident when they're driving one. When I used to own an Audi the tow truck driver's saying when it snowed was "it's Audi duty time". Why? Lots of Audi drivers thought their quattro systems were invincible. Surprise!! Quattro doesn't stop you.

    Back in 1998 I was driving my A4 down route 17 in Orange County NY. Snow turned to freezing rain and I was going down what's known as Wurtsboro hill. The car lost control and I was in a spin. I hit the brakes as hard as I could and landed rear first in a snow bank. NO DAMAGE. I learned my lesson, though I certainly wasn't driving wrecklessly.

    Bottom line.... BE CAREFUL. Take it slow and keep your distance. Drive extra defensively and you should be fine regardless of what you're driving.
  • fljoslinfljoslin Posts: 237
    I (sadly) just sold my 1995 Suburban. I live in E WA where we have had about 1 1/2' of snow and a high temp less that 32F for the last 15 days. I had Michelin X radials (all season) on the Suburban and only put it into four wheel drive for severe traction conditions, mainly up and down the steep hill that I live on, although often that was also in two wheel drive. Most of the time I drove this vehicle in two wheel drive mode and it was great in the snow and ice. I could park this in parking lots that were ploughed snow banks where even most smaller SUVs dare not go and get in and out in two wheel drive. I drove through Snoqualmi pass on I 90 outside Seattle two years ago immediately before the pass was closed for snow. I used four wheel drive more for legal reasons that because of traction.
    For driving in winter, the most important consideration is driving skills: slow down, look ahead, be aware of the road conditions.
    The vehicle is next. Depending on what the conditions are, you need tires with good tread, weight, ground clearance and 4x4.
    So many people forget the driving skills and focus on the vehicle.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    back when I used to live in chilly North Dakota, I (and my wife) drove slower, more cautiously, and for me, I had a 4WD Mazda MPV that helped.

    But now since I live in the South, all I worry about is rain and how close I can get to that mall entrance. :)
  • I've been offered a "heck" of a deal on a Honda S 2000. The stock tires are Bridgestone Potenzas. I've heard horror stories. Comments welcom
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Get the car. If the tires are terrible, ditch em.

    Make sure the car doesn't have a salvage title.
  • saabgirlsaabgirl Posts: 184
    Thigs to carry in your trunk: flares, a container with a mix of sand and salt, a shovel.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Bridgestone currently offer 15 different tires with the Potenza name. Which of those 15 Potenza types are you referring to? - uct
  • i have noticed within the last few weeks that on the edmunds page they have a top 10 tip list one of which is for SUMMER DRIVING? interesting i thought...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,191

    Edmunds works to be everything for everyone. Those tips are for the users in the Southern Hemisphere!

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Numerous excellent tips already given by previous posters.

    When driving in snow or ice, I would add that "defensive" driving steps and concentration need to be ratchetted up to highest level. Leave sufficient space in front of you and watch mirror in case you have to give some extra space to someone following/braking too closely behind. On
    2-lane roads, I view every oncoming vehicle. Avoid conversations with your passenger(s) and cell phone usage is verbotten.
  • we received around 12 inches of snow last night and today. this am i took the explorer out at around 5 was just me and the snow plows..i hit a few roads that had not been traversed yet and the drifts were up to 2 feet high i have the blizzak DMZ3's and they performed very well. it was a great opportunity to practice emergency manuevers and stopping. however at lunchtime i was fiinshing off the walk and right in front of me my neighbor with his grand cherokee pulled out in front of an escape...he skiided into the intersection and just missed hitting the escape....just goes to show...PAY ATTENTION....
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "just goes to show...PAY ATTENTION.... "

    Just further reinforces how much you are at the mercy of someone else.

    A few years ago was heading home from work. A major snowstorm started mid-afternoon. By 5pm it was very bad. On the highway there was a tremendously bad traffic jam going up a hill. When I finally got to the top I saw the issue...a Lexus 430 who was going nowhere fast and whose tires couldn't handle the snow. I felt bad for this poor unprepared person. With my 4 heavy duty R/T tires and AWD I had no issue whatsoever.

    One needs to be at least slightly prepared.
  • my father in law had the ls 430 sport pack...traded it in for the GX...he has to come and visit us for the holidays...too bad his ls was beautiful...but he almost was stuck in my driveway last winter..
  • Also carry some cat litter and a gallon of bleach.
  • whats the bleach for?
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    kitty litter - a staple of all snowbelt drivers!
  • pour it on the tires. it softens up the rubber for better traction. used to do this when I drove delivery trucks.
  • bigdog, can you give us some review on those snoclaws after you use them? I am very interested in its overall performance, such as snow/ice traction, handling, noise, ride comfort, and wear and tear.
  • Hi folks, just found and joined this board today, Glad i found it. I live in the midwest (but heart is downsouth another story) but one of the absolute best winter time things I've found to carry with other than those already mentioned is..... Kitty liter that's right the cheap stuff and a medium sized plastic drinking cup to toss it with, if you find yourself on a slick surface and just can't get any traction toss a couple of cupfuls in front or back of your drive tires depending on the direction you are wanting to go and wa-la you be moving in a heart beat. works every time unless of course there is a few feet of snow in your way. Once the bag is opened I keep it in a garbage bag with a tie top so it doesn't get all over the car, but believe me it's gotten me out of trouble more than once. I now insist that my wife and kids carry it in the winter as well. I once got a large gas (propane hauling truck) un-stuck out of my drive way with it and used less than a couple of handfuls under each tire. What I don't use I just store in the shed until the next winter. Once you try it you will be a believer!!!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,244
    That's good advice. I've gotten out of the habit of carrying Kitty Litter since our cats went to the Big Litter Box in the Sky.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Hey, sorry I didn't notice this question earlier. Yeah, I would be happy to give a review of the snoclaws.

    At first I was a bit surprised at how bumpy they were, but thats really just on hard surfaces. As soon as you get on the soft stuff they smooth right out. Its really amazing how well they work. I have an AWD Element and I tried them out on the front with no difficulties whatsoever. I would highly recommend them.

    I can't wait to try them out in the sand and mud.
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    Were you able to get a "feel" for how durable they were after you used them? Or, better yet, if they look like there were any weak points after you used them that might cause them to fray in the future. I'm concerned that they might come apart while driving, and take out an ABS sensor, brake line, or fender.

    I've had great success with "Z" cables on my motorhome (equipped with ABS) and RX300 with elect traction/ABS in the steep icy inclines at Mammoth. But always looking for something smoother, lighter, easier to deal with, and less potential for vehicle damage.

    Thanks for the "road test report".
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    what are we all doing to prepare for SUMMER driving?

    I'm packing sunglasses and a windshield sunshade to keep my car not so hot when I go to park outside in the burning sun.
  • needgneedg Posts: 13
    Hi all,

    I could use some good winter driving advice to help select my next car. I don't deal with snow daily, but make 12-15 trips each year to tahoe on the weekends and need a car that can handle moderate snow levels. Because I won't be driving in snow on a daily basis, snow tires are not an option.

    If I get an AWD system (looking at the new G), when would it be necessary to put chains on? Do you put chains on all 4 tires in that case? And, when Northern CA has the road restrictions to "chains or AWD with Snow Tires" would I be able to get past with AWD and all seasons?

    I apologize if these seem like silly questions to winter drivers (born and raised in AZ where we just have to worry about how much sun block to wear), but before I buy a car with AWD I would like to know how much use I would be able to get out of it. I like the idea of AWD, but if I have to put chains on when road restrictions are posted then its not worth the hassle.

    If I get RWD car, do I just have to put chains on the rear tires, or fronts as well? And, would a 300hp RWD car with traction control be unwieldy in the snow with chains? I have a 200hp FWD without traction control that is manageable, but still feels a little too out of control at times for comfort in icy conditions.

    Thanks for any advice.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    What are you looking for in terms of price range? You could get anything from a Subaru Forester XT to a Lexus GS AWD or a BMW 330xi, or a G35 AWD or a Volvo AWD. I would get ESC/traction control, which I believe is available on all of these model in 2007.

    As for the road restrictions, I think I call is in order to the CA DOT. Good luck.
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