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    Driving in winter weather

    Maybe it's just me but I hear a lot of misinformation on the TV/Radio about winter driving.

    For example, the other day on 1040am I heard about 5 callers in a row say that in a manual shift car it's better to down shift and let the engine do the braking than actually applying your brakes. Maybe I've been doing it wrong for a long time but I think this is complete crap. Have these people never driven a vehicle before? If you downshift too early and "let their engine do the braking" there are a couple of things that could happen and neither is good.

    #1 Your wheels may skid regardless whether the vehicle is fwd, rwd, awd, or 4wd
    #2 Your ABS won't stop this skid from happening


    I've also heard numerous times that if you put on your brakes and you feel your tires skid you should just let off the brakes. This may be true if you don't have to stop but if you have to stop than that's a different story.

    #1 Know what type of technology your car has. Does your car have ABS? Most cars built in the last 15 years do. If you have ABS and you need to stop in a hurry. Jam the brakes to the floor. Don't pump the brakes. You may hear noises and feel feedback on your foot. That is a good thing.

    #2 A lot of cars not only have ABS but they may have things like electronic stability control or one of the other 1,000 names they call it. If you have this system, point the steering wheel where you want to go and put on the brakes. The computer system will then apply the brakes to certain wheels to get you back in a straight line. I read somewhere a few weeks ago that SUV's without ESC are 3 times more likely to be involved in an accident

    It's good to practice this in an open lot. every car handles different even with the latest technology. The rules that applied 20 years ago to every car no longer apply today.



    Now these radio/tv stations do point out that driving slower and leaving more distance is the most important aspect and I agree.




    As a side note, about 90% of the world has their mirrors adjusted wrong. Here is a hint, if you're sitting in your drivers seat and you can see the side of your car in either mirror,than you have them set-up incorrectly. In most cases for your driver side mirror you should only be able to see the side of your car if you put your cheek (face) next to the window. Here is a good way to test your mirrors.

    #1 Get in the right lane
    #2 Slow down
    #3 Look in your rear view mirror as a car passes you.
    #4 As soon as that car is no longer visible in your rear view mirror you should be able to see them in your drivers mirror
    #5 Right before they leave your drivers mirror you should be able to see them in the corner of your eye.


    You should be able to do the same thing for your passenger mirror. I've had a lot of cars where owners complained about poor visibility and not one of them could I not do this and see the vehicle.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    One other thing I learned this year. If your vehicle has tires and they say "summer only", they mean "summer only".



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    My Trailblazer's ABS/ESC system is too sensitive. So sensitive that it actually prevents me from being able to stop quickly enough on ice. In snow, its just "OK," on ice, its an absolute hinderance. It pumps the brakes so quickly that it doesn't give the tires a chance to slow the vehicle down properly. I've almost gotten into accidents because of it.....so I disable the system in the winter. As an experienced driver, I'm much better at having a feel for the vehicle and the road conditions and using the necessary force and technique in braking.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    Quote Originally Posted by dmclone View Post
    Maybe it's just me but I hear a lot of misinformation on the TV/Radio about winter driving.

    For example, the other day on 1040am I heard about 5 callers in a row say that in a manual shift car it's better to down shift and let the engine do the braking than actually applying your brakes. Maybe I've been doing it wrong for a long time but I think this is complete crap. Have these people never driven a vehicle before? If you downshift too early and "let their engine do the braking" there are a couple of things that could happen and neither is good.

    #1 Your wheels may skid regardless whether the vehicle is fwd, rwd, awd, or 4wd
    #2 Your ABS won't stop this skid from happening

    I've also heard numerous times that if you put on your brakes and you feel your tires skid you should just let off the brakes. This may be true if you don't have to stop but if you have to stop than that's a different story.

    #1 Know what type of technology your car has. Does your car have ABS? Most cars built in the last 15 years do. If you have ABS and you need to stop in a hurry. Jam the brakes to the floor. Don't pump the brakes. You may hear noises and feel feedback on your foot. That is a good thing.

    #2 A lot of cars not only have ABS but they may have things like electronic stability control or one of the other 1,000 names they call it. If you have this system, point the steering wheel where you want to go and put on the brakes. The computer system will then apply the brakes to certain wheels to get you back in a straight line. I read somewhere a few weeks ago that SUV's without ESC are 3 times more likely to be involved in an accident

    It's good to practice this in an open lot. every car handles different even with the latest technology. The rules that applied 20 years ago to every car no longer apply today.


    Now these radio/tv stations do point out that driving slower and leaving more distance is the most important aspect and I agree.




    As a side note, about 90% of the world has their mirrors adjusted wrong. Here is a hint, if you're sitting in your drivers seat and you can see the side of your car in either mirror,than you have them set-up incorrectly. In most cases for your driver side mirror you should only be able to see the side of your car if you put your cheek (face) next to the window. Here is a good way to test your mirrors.

    #1 Get in the right lane
    #2 Slow down
    #3 Look in your rear view mirror as a car passes you.
    #4 As soon as that car is no longer visible in your rear view mirror you should be able to see them in your drivers mirror
    #5 Right before they leave your drivers mirror you should be able to see them in the corner of your eye.


    You should be able to do the same thing for your passenger mirror. I've had a lot of cars where owners complained about poor visibility and not one of them could I not do this and see the vehicle.
    i have tiptronic shifting in my cayenne and it works wonders on the ice down shifting. sometimes i can nearly come to a complete stop without hitting the breaks. So i have to disagree with you a bit.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    Quote Originally Posted by erikbj View Post
    i have tiptronic shifting in my cayenne and it works wonders on the ice down shifting. sometimes i can nearly come to a complete stop without hitting the breaks. So i have to disagree with you a bit.
    I'm not saying that it may not slow you down but if you downshift too early your tires are going to lose traction. Each vehicle is different how it handles this lose of traction but your tires are most likely losing traction.


    IMO braking with your actual brakes that have ABS is a better alternative than engine braking on ice. If you want to try this an extreme way, get going down the road about 50mph and just start downshifting as fast as you can with your tiptronic to it's lowest gear and see what happens.


    Last edited by dmclone; 12-23-2009 at 07:32 AM.

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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    I prefer to hit the brake, gas and downshift at the same time while cranking the wheel violently in one direction. It doesn't stop me, but it makes for a great ride.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclonepride View Post
    I prefer to hit the brake, gas and downshift at the same time while cranking the wheel violently in one direction. It doesn't stop me, but it makes for a great ride.
    I saw a girl do that a few years ago on Pammel Drive on the north side of campus.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    I saw one last year on 2nd Ave just south of Oralabor too. The guy started to slide just a little bit, and evidently panicked and hit the gas. Fastest couple of donuts I've ever seen.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    I also think driving a car that's bad in the winter is the best training you can have. My 3 worst cars for winter have been a 89 Firebird Formula, 03 Nissan 350Z, and my Mazdaspeed 3 with summer tires. Now that I've switched to snow tires on the Mazda it does great but wow was it a nightmare during the first storm.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    Quote Originally Posted by dmclone View Post
    Maybe it's just me but I hear a lot of misinformation on the TV/Radio about winter driving.

    For example, the other day on 1040am I heard about 5 callers in a row say that in a manual shift car it's better to down shift and let the engine do the braking than actually applying your brakes. Maybe I've been doing it wrong for a long time but I think this is complete crap. Have these people never driven a vehicle before? If you downshift too early and "let their engine do the braking" there are a couple of things that could happen and neither is good.

    #1 Your wheels may skid regardless whether the vehicle is fwd, rwd, awd, or 4wd
    #2 Your ABS won't stop this skid from happening


    I've also heard numerous times that if you put on your brakes and you feel your tires skid you should just let off the brakes. This may be true if you don't have to stop but if you have to stop than that's a different story.

    #1 Know what type of technology your car has. Does your car have ABS? Most cars built in the last 15 years do. If you have ABS and you need to stop in a hurry. Jam the brakes to the floor. Don't pump the brakes. You may hear noises and feel feedback on your foot. That is a good thing.

    #2 A lot of cars not only have ABS but they may have things like electronic stability control or one of the other 1,000 names they call it. If you have this system, point the steering wheel where you want to go and put on the brakes. The computer system will then apply the brakes to certain wheels to get you back in a straight line. I read somewhere a few weeks ago that SUV's without ESC are 3 times more likely to be involved in an accident

    It's good to practice this in an open lot. every car handles different even with the latest technology. The rules that applied 20 years ago to every car no longer apply today.



    Now these radio/tv stations do point out that driving slower and leaving more distance is the most important aspect and I agree.




    As a side note, about 90% of the world has their mirrors adjusted wrong. Here is a hint, if you're sitting in your drivers seat and you can see the side of your car in either mirror,than you have them set-up incorrectly. In most cases for your driver side mirror you should only be able to see the side of your car if you put your cheek (face) next to the window. Here is a good way to test your mirrors.

    #1 Get in the right lane
    #2 Slow down
    #3 Look in your rear view mirror as a car passes you.
    #4 As soon as that car is no longer visible in your rear view mirror you should be able to see them in your drivers mirror
    #5 Right before they leave your drivers mirror you should be able to see them in the corner of your eye.


    You should be able to do the same thing for your passenger mirror. I've had a lot of cars where owners complained about poor visibility and not one of them could I not do this and see the vehicle.
    Drove a Pontiac Firebird stick shift for 12 winter years. Never once thought about using my breaks first. I would have been crazy to do that with such a light weight rearend-car. Proud to say I never got in an accident or caused one on my own. Sorry, got to totally disagree with you.



  11. #11
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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    OK, looks like I'm wrong. Looks like everyone should downshift instead of breaking.

    I'll continue to use my breaks.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    Quote Originally Posted by dmclone View Post
    OK, looks like I'm wrong. Looks like everyone should downshift instead of breaking.

    I'll continue to use my breaks.
    I realize you're being sarcastic, but I'm guessing you've never driven a car w/ auto transmission that does this: like the other poster mentioned, if the roads are pretty crappy my car will nearly stop itself, smoothly, before I need to hit the breaks at an intersection; works great.

    You're making it sound like in order to shift down you have to do it hard... that argument doesn't make sense because with your reasoning you'd lose control shifting up as well



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    Quote Originally Posted by dmclone View Post
    OK, looks like I'm wrong. Looks like everyone should downshift instead of breaking.

    I'll continue to use my breaks.
    I don't have very much experience with a manual transmission (I could drive one, but none of my daily drivers have ever had it), but, I would think that even if you downshifted into a lower gear and started to slide and lose traction, you could just push in the clutch and use your brakes appropriately anyways.

    As for an automatic transmission, I've never tried downshifting to slow down. I just use my brakes. One thing I do is shift the transmission into neutral if I'm going down a hill and need to slow down.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    Quote Originally Posted by cstrunk View Post
    I don't have very much experience with a manual transmission (I could drive one, but none of my daily drivers have ever had it), but, I would think that even if you downshifted into a lower gear and started to slide and lose traction, you could just push in the clutch and use your brakes appropriately anyways.
    This is correct.



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    Re: Driving in winter weather

    Quote Originally Posted by JY07 View Post
    I realize you're being sarcastic, but I'm guessing you've never driven a car w/ auto transmission that does this: like the other poster mentioned, if the roads are pretty crappy my car will nearly stop itself, smoothly, before I need to hit the breaks at an intersection; works great.

    You're making it sound like in order to shift down you have to do it hard... that argument doesn't make sense because with your reasoning you'd lose control shifting up as well

    I've had probably 5 cars with this type of transmission. I've also had a car with an even more complex DSG transmission. I've also own a car with a CVT trans. I agree that if you do it right and don't downshift too early then you won't lose traction. If you downshift too early (high in the RPM range) you will.

    BTW-Most of these tiptronic transmissions are just fancy names for automatics with a cool shifter. If you don;t believe me try leaving it in first and redlining it and see if it automatically shifts to 2nd.



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