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(WTOP)   A look at why so many of the accidents after a major snowstorm seem to involve SUVs with four-wheel drive   (wtop.com) divider line 232
    More: Dumbass, four-wheel-drive  
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17451 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Mar 2013 at 10:30 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-06 05:11:09 PM
I will say probably the best vehicle I've had in somewhat serious snow was a Honda Civic station wagon. That thing was a piece of shiat in most ways, but it was rear wheel drive (pretty sure it was anyway). So pretty good in snow (in OK, so wasn't necessary most of the time). Not so good at the not sliding, though.

Current vehicle (Toyota Echo) is also OK in snow. Sits up higher, so the clearance is better than most cars that aren't SUVs or trucks. Drove in OKC after that massive snowstorm a couple years ago and made the mistake of exiting onto May Ave., which has not been cleared very well. Watched a couple other vehicles get stuck (one had passed me a minute earlier, that was kinda satisfying), but mine did OK until I was about 1/4 mile from destination. And that was probably my fault. After a couple hundred miles, I got a little overconfident.
 
2013-03-06 05:29:11 PM
Snow tires > 4WD.


My little VW Jetta with real snow tires is better in the snow than my dad's monstrous Lincoln Navigator with all-seasons.
 
2013-03-06 05:37:46 PM

bikerific: My little VW Jetta with real snow tires is better in the snow than my dad's monstrous Lincoln Navigator with all-seasons.


My VW R32 with snows is awesome.

/Knows his (and his car's) limit.
//Doesn't cross it.
///Unless it's in an empty parking lot.
 
2013-03-06 05:39:53 PM
My VW Jetta TDI couldn't get up the hills in my neighborhood development with Nokian Hakkas on. FWD + Awesome SnoTires is not nearly as good as a proper 4wd vehicle and a non retarded driver.
 
2013-03-06 05:42:10 PM

Frantic Freddie: This text is now purple


waterrockets: I never had any jeeps as new as a Wrangler. '42 Willy's CJ-2A, '69 CJ-5, '84 CJ-7, then a '97 4Runner.

You functionally have. A 1994 Wrangler is essentially a CJ-9.Bzzzt! WRONG!!! The '94 Wrangler was a YJ,there never was a CJ-9.The YJ replaced the CJ series in '86,which was replaced by the TJ in '96,the current Wrangler ('07 to present)  is a JK.


Indeed. A YJ replaced the CJ-8, although the differences bordered on the trivial. Hell, it still had AMC parts. It was functionally a CJ-9 with a new badge.
 
2013-03-06 05:43:42 PM

Psylence: FWD + Awesome SnoTires is not nearly as good as a proper 4wd vehicle and a non retarded driver.


The R32 *is* an AWD vehicle. ;)
 
2013-03-06 05:44:19 PM

Smelly Pirate Hooker: I will say probably the best vehicle I've had in somewhat serious snow was a Honda Civic station wagon. That thing was a piece of shiat in most ways, but it was rear wheel drive (pretty sure it was anyway). So pretty good in snow (in OK, so wasn't necessary most of the time). Not so good at the not sliding, though.



Nope. Depending on the year, it was either FWD or AWD. I had a cow-orker who had one the AWD ones. Light weight + skinny snow tires + AWD = unstoppable.

My best and worst snow vehicles were both Hondas: The first generation Civic was great. I was living in Rochester NY, and getting it stuck took a combination of stupidity and effort. The first gen Integra I had when I moved to CO a few years later was the opposite. Yes, front wheel drive would allow you to get going, but all the roll stiffness they'd dialed in to make it handle well on dry pavement would bite you hard when it was slick. That sucker would spin if you even thought about lifting off the gas in the middle of a corner. And that was with studded tires.

I replaced it with a BMW M3. Threw a set of Blizzaks on it, went to my first ice gymkhana, and was floored at how good it was in really crappy conditions. Maybe not quite on the level as the Civic, but a hell of a lot more fun. It was pretty funny on the way up: Some guy in an Explorer seemed to take it as a personal affront that a RWD German sport coupe would dare to drive up US6 in a snow storm, or at least that's what I imagined was his motive for tailgating me. That stopped when I cruised comfortably around a turn, while he understeered out into the other lane and almost got smacked by a casino bus.

/Chill tale, brah.
 
2013-03-06 05:48:54 PM

mysticcat: Traction control does not override the constraints posed by the laws of physics.


Need to hunt down that video of a Challenger tank sliding on an icy road, if it hasn't been posted yet.

/thread is tl;dr
 
2013-03-06 06:10:11 PM

Pocket Ninja: 10 Red Flags That Suggest the Person Driving a 4-Wheel Drive Vehicle Doesn't Actually Know How to Operate One:

1) The 4X4 looks more like a mini-van.
2) The 4X4 is spotlessly clean.
3) The 4X4 is regularly parked in the suburbs.
4) The 4X4 has an automatic lift gate or sliding side door.
5) The 4X4 has personalized plates that do not appear to reference hunting.
6) There are young children in the 4X4.
7) There is no dog in the 4X4, or if there is a dog it is a poodle.
8) There is a luggage carrier located somewhere on the 4X4, either atop it or on a small platform hooked to the back.
9) When operating the 4X4 in normal conditions, the driver goes around speed bumps in parking lots.
10) The person refers to his or her 4X4, which is not a pickup, as a "truck."


Someone else added a couple, here's mine:

12) they slow down to about 3 mph when they encounter a patch of sand the size of a dinner plate on the road.

/forcing me to peel out around them, spraying their expensive paint job with gravel

Oh, and 13) they use up two parking spaces in cramped urban garages and parking lots

//not really sorry I had to ding your spotless paint with my door
 
2013-03-06 06:11:26 PM

bikerific: My little VW Jetta with real snow tires


We debated the snow tires v. studded when we got our winter tires for our Jetta wagon.  The snows (not studded) have been really good to us so far.  (35 mile r/t Colorado canyon commute every day.)  There's only been one day so far that we couldn't get up our hill to the house and had to take the bat cave entrance.

mr. zobear drove it over Vail Pass in a storm this past weekend without incident.  I think after the correct tires, the key is to keep it moving - slow and steady - and don't make any sudden changes in direction, if you can help it.

/also have an 01 Tacoma 4WD for when it gets really bad
 
2013-03-06 06:20:02 PM
10 Red Flags That Suggest the Person Driving a 4-Wheel Drive Vehicle Doesn't Actually Know How to Operate One:
1) The 4X4 looks more like a mini-van.
2) The 4X4 is spotlessly clean.
3) The 4X4 is regularly parked in the suburbs.
4) The 4X4 has an automatic lift gate or sliding side door.
5) The 4X4 has personalized plates that do not appear to reference hunting.
6) There are young children in the 4X4.
7) There is no dog in the 4X4, or if there is a dog it is a poodle.
8) There is a luggage carrier located somewhere on the 4X4, either atop it or on a small platform hooked to the back.
9) When operating the 4X4 in normal conditions, the driver goes around speed bumps in parking lots.
10) The person refers to his or her 4X4, which is not a pickup, as a "truck"


Thanks Pocket Ninja, you perfectly describe what I call "fat station wagons" a few years ago I wanted a small SUV, not a FSW and found them hard to find. I bought a 2006 Kia Sorento new & loaded for less than Toyota's or Honda's stripped FSWs were new at that time. And since then Kia caved to the soccor moms & went to a car based Sorento. Keeping my 2006 Kia and 2001 Ford Ranger 4WD till they die of old age.
 
2013-03-06 06:44:50 PM
Everyone thinks they are good at these two things: driving and sex.
 
2013-03-06 06:50:49 PM

Gecko Gingrich: Psylence: FWD + Awesome SnoTires is not nearly as good as a proper 4wd vehicle and a non retarded driver.

The R32 *is* an AWD vehicle. ;)


Was referring to the person with the Jetta, but hey, thanks for trying. Got the DSG or the real tranny btw? ;)
 
2013-03-06 06:59:19 PM

Psylence: Gecko Gingrich: Psylence: FWD + Awesome SnoTires is not nearly as good as a proper 4wd vehicle and a non retarded driver.

The R32 *is* an AWD vehicle. ;)

Was referring to the person with the Jetta, but hey, thanks for trying. Got the DSG or the real tranny btw? ;)


It's an urR32 ('04), no DSG option in the US.
 
2013-03-06 07:23:13 PM

JustFish: Got a little subaru outback, and will never go back to two wheel drive.

The problem people have is F=MA. For christ sake, yes, four wheel drive will help, but it doesn't change the physics people.

First thing I do when it snows, no matter the car I have at the time, is go out to an empty parking lot and practice emergency turning / braking. You have to know the vehicle and it's limits, and each one is different. Slapping some safety features like ABS and AWD on a car doesn't change the fact that it's a GIANT HEAVY SUV.


I miss my little subie, I want another one.

I do the same thing.  One time, after I was done and went to leave the lot, there was a police cruiser sitting at the entrance/exit of the lot.  I pulled up and he rolled down his window.  I did the same.

"What were you doing?"  he asked.

"Donuts, power slides, emergency braking, hand brake pulls, acceleration checks, just refreshing my snow driving skills and seeing how the car is running and handling this year."

"Oh.  Good idea."

"Yes, thanks.  Have a good day.  Bye."

"Thanks, you too.  Bye."

As I drove away, in my rear view mirror, I could see him doing the same thing in his cruiser.

/probably get arrested for criminal trespass now
//they've really lost their sense of humor
 
2013-03-06 08:03:10 PM

ShamanGator: "fat station wagons"


diaper buckets
 
2013-03-06 08:10:45 PM
Actually for a good snow vehicle you need:

1- Traction. You are only going to get this from good tires and 4 wheel drive and traction control. Any one of these is good, but all three are better.
2- Ground clearance. Snow piles up under your car. If there is more than 8 inches on the ground you arent going to make it very far on an unplowed road in a car.
3- Visibility. The terrain looks different when its buried in snow. Height is a clear advantage when you need to find what used to be the street under a couple feet of drifts.
4- Power at pace. People forget that sometimes the trick with snow is low and slow, low gear, low revs, but tons of torque. You need to let the micro-ridges in your snow tires create friction and then use that friction without over rotating the wheels or bogging your forward momentum. Some people argue that a higher gear is better for not breaking traction, but if you have good throttle control then lower gears are more useful in my experience.
5- Tire diameter. Larger is better, especially when the snow is really deep and you dont know whats under it on top of the pavement.

The clear choice is a large 4x4 or awd vehicle driven intelligently. BUT

If you intend to carry your family in it you are going to want lots of airbags and other safety features because everyone else out there is an idiot in a Jetta sliding sideways down the icy street towards you.

So that pretty much leaves you with a crew cab modern pickup truck or a modern large SUV.

So suck it haters and go buy an SUV if you live in snow country.

s1.aecdn.com
 
2013-03-06 08:26:41 PM
When driving in the snow, the intelligence of the driver is inversely proportional to the number of driven wheels.
 
2013-03-06 08:38:12 PM

dogboy360: When driving in the snow, the intelligence of the driver is inversely proportional to the number of driven wheels.


So youre saying all the smarties are riding vespas?
 
2013-03-06 09:13:58 PM

Gecko Gingrich: Psylence: Gecko Gingrich: Psylence: FWD + Awesome SnoTires is not nearly as good as a proper 4wd vehicle and a non retarded driver.

The R32 *is* an AWD vehicle. ;)

Was referring to the person with the Jetta, but hey, thanks for trying. Got the DSG or the real tranny btw? ;)

It's an urR32 ('04), no DSG option in the US.


I thought there was an R32 generation that was DSG only, and they relented with the new R awd models. Learn somethin' new I suppose. Does that thing have an open front diff like most Subarus, since we're on the subject...?
 
2013-03-06 10:04:25 PM
This text is now purple

Frantic Freddie: This text is now purple


waterrockets: I never had any jeeps as new as a Wrangler. '42 Willy's CJ-2A, '69 CJ-5, '84 CJ-7, then a '97 4Runner.

You functionally have. A 1994 Wrangler is essentially a CJ-9.Bzzzt! WRONG!!! The '94 Wrangler was a YJ,there never was a CJ-9.The YJ replaced the CJ series in '86,which was replaced by the TJ in '96,the current Wrangler ('07 to present) is a JK.

Indeed. A YJ replaced the CJ-8, although the differences bordered on the trivial. Hell, it still had AMC parts. It was functionally a CJ-9 with a new badge.



I'm no expert,just an enthusiast,but you don't know squat about Jeeps.
 
2013-03-06 10:25:58 PM

danno_to_infinity: JustFish: Got a little subaru outback, and will never go back to two wheel drive.

The problem people have is F=MA. For christ sake, yes, four wheel drive will help, but it doesn't change the physics people.

First thing I do when it snows, no matter the car I have at the time, is go out to an empty parking lot and practice emergency turning / braking. You have to know the vehicle and it's limits, and each one is different. Slapping some safety features like ABS and AWD on a car doesn't change the fact that it's a GIANT HEAVY SUV.

I miss my little subie, I want another one.

I do the same thing.  One time, after I was done and went to leave the lot, there was a police cruiser sitting at the entrance/exit of the lot.  I pulled up and he rolled down his window.  I did the same.

"What were you doing?"  he asked.

"Donuts, power slides, emergency braking, hand brake pulls, acceleration checks, just refreshing my snow driving skills and seeing how the car is running and handling this year."

"Oh.  Good idea."

"Yes, thanks.  Have a good day.  Bye."

"Thanks, you too.  Bye."

As I drove away, in my rear view mirror, I could see him doing the same thing in his cruiser.

/probably get arrested for criminal trespass now
//they've really lost their sense of humor


These days someone would catch him doing it on video and he would probably lose his job.

I've been hoping for a good snow day to take my son with is fresh driving permit out so that I can teach him to drive stick. In my Xterra. My 2WD Xterra. You see, I don't want to carry around the extra weight of 4WD for the 362 days a year I don't need it, but I like sitting up high, and I don't like it when the soccer moms think "Escalade" is Italian for "Intimidation."

\Keep the revs low and the momentum up.
\\Plan ahead
 
2013-03-06 11:03:36 PM

archichris: dogboy360: When driving in the snow, the intelligence of the driver is inversely proportional to the number of driven wheels.

So youre saying all the smarties are riding vespas?


Well, they are smart enough not to ride in the snow.
I've seen more 4x4's in the ditch than 2WD's. I have a RWD pickup. I have no trouble getting around in the snow, if I have to. But I see the 4x4 wiping out all over. 4WD doesn't mean 4 wheel stop (which those idiots do).

/yes, there are always exceptions. But, they are rare.
 
2013-03-07 01:06:37 AM
Still drive my 94 Bronco 4x4. Love it to death. Always wondered why peeps buy 4x4's and never go off road. Guy in my apt complex has one. Beautiful full size GMC 4x4...cleanest truck i have ever seen. Mine hasnt been washed in months.

/Has dogs..Bloodhound and a aussie shepherd
//got kids
///lived 3 miles down a dirt road..needed the 4x4 when it rained
 
2013-03-07 02:19:16 AM
4WD or AWD helps you keep moving it doesn't help with the stopping. Too many people think because there vehicle can go highway speeds in snow/ice means they can also stop, only to find themselves in a ditch.

People may disagree but you shouldn't be in 4WD and doing highway speeds, if you need that much traction then you shouldn't be going that fast. Also most 4WD systems aren't designed for 55+ and it isn't good for them.

/TJ (Jeep) in my driveway, modified transfer case, after market Dana 44s with lockers, lifted on 33s', all work done myself. Skinny all terrains in the winter and wide mudders for the rest of the year. Live in Northeast so driving in snow is the norm, also plenty of offroad in rocks/mud which the skid plates and body damage will attest to.
 
2013-03-07 08:36:12 AM
CSB alert.

Once I was driving on Route 30 near Bedford, PA. We had a very sudden snow storm drop about a foot of snow. The roads hadn't been plowed. I was in a line of cars going maybe 25 mph. A guy driving a red 4 wheel drive subaru wagon comes flying up behind me. He's blasting the horn and flipping us off for going so fast. We hit a straight stretch of road and he guns it and flies by all of us (probably 7-8 cars) while yelling and flipping us off. A few minutes later, we come around a bend and there he is standing beside his car which has the back end stuck in a ditch with the front wheels sticking up in the air. I pulled up and rolled down my window. I asked if he was OK. He said he was. I asked if he had a cell phone to call for help. He said he did. I said "This is what you get for driving like a dumbass". He said "I know, I know". Then I drove off laughing.
 
2013-03-07 10:34:28 AM

Psylence: I thought there was an R32 generation that was DSG only, and they relented with the new R awd models. Learn somethin' new I suppose. Does that thing have an open front diff like most Subarus, since we're on the subject...?


The 2nd Gen ('08) was DSG only in the US. VW relented for the 3rd Gen ('12) and offered both.

Stock, they all have open diffs at either end, but VW uses the ABS to brake the slipping wheel creating a sort of electronic LSD. My car has had the front diff upgraded to an aftermarket TBD, made by Peloquin.
 
2013-03-07 03:06:24 PM

Glockenspiel Hero: Parents- take your kids out to a snowy parking lot the first time you get a chance. Skid recovery is fun to learn, and it's a critical driving skill.


Unfortunately, it's a skill that rusts, and in some places it's only important few days out of the year, but it's critical for those few days. It's not possible to wait for that day to show up while you're teaching people. Plus when people move from sun to snow, it screws them over. People need to take control of their own destiny and train themselves more if it's not available early on, though.

Alternately, you can emulate the effect of a weather skid with a speed skid, but that's just a wee bit more dangerous.
 
2013-03-07 07:46:11 PM

Pocket Ninja: 10 Red Flags That Suggest the Person Driving a 4-Wheel Drive Vehicle Doesn't Actually Know How to Operate One:

1) The 4X4 looks more like a mini-van.
2) The 4X4 is spotlessly clean.
3) The 4X4 is regularly parked in the suburbs.
4) The 4X4 has an automatic lift gate or sliding side door.
5) The 4X4 has personalized plates that do not appear to reference hunting.
6) There are young children in the 4X4.
7) There is no dog in the 4X4, or if there is a dog it is a poodle.
8) There is a luggage carrier located somewhere on the 4X4, either atop it or on a small platform hooked to the back.
9) When operating the 4X4 in normal conditions, the driver goes around speed bumps in parking lots.
10) The person refers to his or her 4X4, which is not a pickup, as a "truck."


Or it's just a 4x4.

My favorite moment in the snow was seeing a pickup truck that was stuck in an unplowed part of a parking lot. He had figured he would beat the traffic by going where other cars could not go. It turns out he couldn't go there either.

He had oversized tires and probably didn't meet any of the qualifications that you mentioned. Okay, he didn't have a dog with him that I could see. My car has a low-clearance. I was doing just fine. He was out there shoveling snow trying to get unstuck.. I did get stuck due to that snow-storm, but not from being a total idiot. Many thanks to the kind person who helped me out. And a big fark you to the management at the apartment I lived in at the time who didn't clear the snow from the parking lot. I complained so bitterly that they actually told me I could break my lease without any penalties. So I did.
 
2013-03-07 07:58:38 PM
Not to sound like I'm trying to pick on Cheeseheads, but when I was up in Wisconsin about 15 years ago, I was surprised how many cars, trucks and SUVs slid off the road into a ditch or the median.  I had the expectation that since they are farther north and get more snow than most states, that they'd be better at driving in said condions as I'd expect them to be more used to it.  Truthfully, it's like that everywhere it snows.

Around the same time period in Pennsylvania travelling west on I-80, I had a group of 3 or 4 semis pass me driving what I thought was too fast for snowy, wintery conditions.  Only went a couple miles down the road and found them in the median.  They weren't wrecked or flipped over on their side, but just nose to tail too far off the road in the snow to get back on the highway.

OK, as for SUVs, I think too many people forget that the SUVs higher center of gravity is a disadvantage, despite the fact they may have 4WD.  For a number of years, I've seen them tipped over on their side, off the road, and sometimes flipped over on their roof.  This is mostly true in winter, but also yearround even when there's no snow, rain, or ice.
 
2013-03-07 08:22:17 PM
Oh, and I've personally found that a compact or midsize FWD sedan with a manual transmission and good tires (Michelins) has worked fine for me in snow these past 20+ years.  Like somebody else said, in both good and bad weather, get to know your limits and the cars limits. And, then also keep in mind "better safe than sorry."
 
2013-03-07 08:55:39 PM

genepool lifeboat: 4 Wheel Drive =/= 4 Wheel Stop

Either you know how to drive in snow, or you make friends with the tow guy.


So much this.

I drive a 4WD. I have no problems driving in winter, because pops wouldn't let me drive until I *could* drive in winter. Winter driving is actually just common sense- something most people lack.
 
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