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Winter has finally arrived, snow is already on the ground. As we all know it can get dangerous driving in winter conditions. For anyone with experience driving in winter, what tips would you give to the inexperienced?

To start, a good set of winter tires really help and making sure your vehicle is mechanically ready.
 

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Here's a few tips

- Have enough gas. Half tank or more is good.
- Don't follow other cars too close, leave enough room. About 2-3 car lengths.
- A winter survival kit is recommended.
 

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DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT start driving your car, no matter how late you might be for work, before your windshield is 99.999% clear. Just ask my eight day old Cruze. probably have the dubious honor of being the first person in Canada to have his car in the shop
 

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Coming from a person that has driven through about a dozen Minnesota winters I have a few tips.

Preparation: Winter tires are the best if your budget allows. Have a small shovel and a ice cream pale of kitty litter or sand if the following tips fail to keep you on the road.

Take your time. Speed is by far the primary reason winter driving accidents occur. Give yourself plenty of time and just submit to the fact that some days you may be late to your destination. Better late then dead.

Like JustMike said. Clear all your windows. You could lose a semi in the blind spot created by the rear windows not being cleared. Also make sure your wipers are not frozen down so when road slush or spray hits your windshield you can quickly wash it away.

Bridges, on-ramps, and overpasses freeze much sooner than surface streets. Take extra precautions when the temp drops even if surface streets are clear.

If you find yourself sliding DO NOT stab at the brakes. Simply let off the gas and let the tires adjust to the pavement. That is why there is a shoulder on the road for a little extra room. You will go straight into the ditch/guardrail if you stomp the brakes even with ABS. That goes for the steering as well. Small smooth inputs if you find yourself in a slide.

Hope this helps to keep you safe this winter season.
 

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im the right person for this one.....being a person who likes going out to drift in the snow hahaa.

These are my tips to help you and anyone else out...

*LEARN HOW TO COUNTER STEER
this is important if you happen to start sliding and need to straighten up your car. I suggest finding an empty parking lot covered in snow, and master counter steering. It's gotten me out of a lot of bad situations. If your car is RWD this is a MUST to learn, not so much for FWD.

*TIRES
Winter tires are IDEAL, this was mentioned by the OP. But for those that dont know, narrow tires cut through snow better then wider tires.
Example: If you use 235/55R17 summer tires, its better to use 205/55R17 or 195/60R17 or something around that.
Proper tire pressure is needed too for safety.
 

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If you want to go out drifting make sure the area is clear of obstructions of any kind .
Wear your safety belt !
 

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Clear the hood of your Cruze as well. Our washer nozzles are on the hood.
 

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Clear the hood of your Cruze as well. Our washer nozzles are on the hood.
Yeah I miss the traditional GM wiper quad spray nozzles.

As for hydroplane in a manual vehicle, is it best to let off gas or clutch in?


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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Anytime you have uncontrolled wheel spillage you need to disengage the engine and brakes from the wheels. Take your foot off the brake or throttle. If you're still sliding, you need to put the car in neutral either by throwing the shifter into Neutral or putting the clutch in. The reason for this is to allow the tire's contact patch to be the highest friction point in the wheel/tire combination. Once the tires regrip the road surface you can carefully and smoothly reapply power by keeping your foot off the throttle and letting the clutch out (or shifting back into Drive). In a manual you want the engine speed with the clutch out to be somewhere between 1100 and 1500 RPM. Unfortunately you don't have this level of control in an automatic.

I cannot stress enough that for good winter driving you really need to practice year round. Among the skills you need are the ability to see the road ahead and anticipate what every other car on the road will be doing in the next 10 to 15 seconds. You also need to learn to drive smoothly. The reason for smoothness is that the most common cause of winter slides is abrupt changes in speed and/or direction. These two skills will enable you to make changes in speed and direction early and smoothly.

Regardless of how careful you are, you will break traction. The way to handle any and all slides is to freewheel all four tires (see 1st paragraph) and steer the car where you want to go. I've heard steer into a skid (rear wheel drive), steer with a skid (front wheel drive), ..., but the common thread in all those "rules" is that you are turning the front wheels to where you want the car to go. Even in a stopping slide the front wheels will eventually grip and turn the car.

Finally, practice the above. The seeing, anticipation, and smoothness need to be practiced year round so that when conditions deteriorate these skills are muscle memory and completely subconscious. Skid handling can be practiced in a large snow covered parking lot, or, if you live in areas with lots of sand (American southwester deserts is where I learned skid handling) you can practice on sand covered roads. Don't practice skid control on dry pavement because it will quickly wear out your rear tires.
 

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Good tips so far.

-snow tires
-good wiper blades
-clear off the car before driving, especially widows, lights, and plates. If there's alot of snow on the car clear it too, don't be the schmuck that's driving around letting it fly off onto other motorists cars

-BE SMOOTH with the brakes, gas, and steering. As mentioned abrubt changes in any of these increases the chances of the tires loosing traction AND if you're loosing traction mashing on any of these will ensure a complete loss of traction.

-DO NOT FOLLOW CLOSE, this is a no brainer and yet people disobey this simple rule...... Even if you have laser reflexes if the person in front of you stops quickly and has better tires than you, YOU WILL HIT THEM or go off the road dodging them.

Personally I like to test traction periodically when the roads are bad. While going a safe speed I'll play with the gas and brakes to see what point traction will be lost. This allows me to build a picture of how fast I can drive on a given road and what evasive maneuvers I can manage on a given road. Obviously as conditions vary so will traction limitations.
 

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I like to take out a car into a open parking lot and test its limits in the snow and ice. Im always suprised just how long it takes to stop and how hard a corner can be at speed. I pretend that theres a car stopped and i have to go around it or stop before it. I also stab the brakes once in a while to see how slippery it is. I pull the ebrake and drift which is both fun and practices countersteering.
 
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