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Thread: I have a question

  1. #1
    ColleenC2
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    I have a question

    My question is regarding what is the best vehicle for Icy conditions, meaning is a larger vehicle better than a smaller car when driving in Icy conditions, since we are shopping for new vehicles and last winter my daughter spun out on the Icy road this question has been bugging me and since I have not taken any "defensive driving" classes I don't know what the answer is.

    I did not see a section for this question so I am posting it on motor mouth

  2. #2
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    Re: I have a question

    Large vs. small: Only matters when you hit something.

    If you actually want to avoid hitting anything, buy a car with AWD that has good natural balance, and then put good winter tires on it.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  3. #3
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    Re: I have a question

    It has been said "God is on the side of the heavy battalions". You can extrapolate that to mean you're better off in a larger vehicle where mass and momentum are on your side, but that's not the question you asked.

    On tricky surfaces, such as packed snow or ice, you're probably better off in a vehicle that has good front/rear weight distribution. Front wheel drive vehicles have the weight of the engine over the driving wheels for better traction, but the drawback on a FWD vehicle is that if you lose traction you also lose your steering. For that reason, something that has part-time 4 wheel drive or some form of all-wheel drive beats any kind of normal two wheel drive vehicle.

    I have a 2002 Avalanche with selectable 2, 4, or all wheel drive. The difference on slippery surfaces between 2 wheel drive and 4WD or AWD is simply amazing.

    But it's all a tradeoff and your experience will differ with driving style...

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by ColleenC2
    My question is regarding what is the best vehicle for Icy conditions, meaning is a larger vehicle better than a smaller car when driving in Icy conditions, since we are shopping for new vehicles and last winter my daughter spun out on the Icy road this question has been bugging me and since I have not taken any "defensive driving" classes I don't know what the answer is.

    I did not see a section for this question so I am posting it on motor mouth
    Ditto what Chip wrote; as far as maintaining control, traction is the key element - and AWD cars tend to be better in slippery conditions (snow and rain) than FWD cars.. and FWD cars tend to be superior to RWD cars (mainly because RWD cars have engine power routed to the comparatively light back-end of the car, which decreases its threshold of grip. FWD cars have the advantage of the engine/transaxle's weight on top of the drive wheels, which improves traction. It's also an advantage to pull rather than push.

    Tires matter a lot, too.

    However, if you're driving on ICE, traction will be minimal irrespective of the vehicle or its type because there is nothing for the tires to "bite." You WILL slip and slide; all you can really do is try to adjust your speed (downward) when ice might be an issue. And if you do find yourself on a sheet of black ice, try to avoid sudden inputs - steering or braking. If it's on a straight stretch, ease off the gas and try to maintain course until you clear the ice; the car will want to continue going in the direction it was travelling. If you hit ice on a corner, there's often very little you can do beyond hope your progress isn't arrested by a big tree....




  5. #5
    ColleenC2
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    Re: I have a question

    Doesn't a heavier vehicle have the ability to "crunch" into the ice?

  6. #6
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    Re: I have a question

    That only works on snow. On ice that doesn't matter because it's essentially solid.

    A few stories:

    In a Jetta GLX I used to own, I got cabin fever one ice storm and went out driving (stupid of me). I passed a 4wd Jeep Wrangler stuck in the ditch -- the driver watching me creep by with amazement. Key values: FWD car, good balance, good tires, and very cautious driving.

    A year or two later, in the same car, I was going down a supermarket entrance onto the street, and discovered it was all ice. With the ABS cycling the brakes, I still slid out into traffic (luckily they saw me coming and stopped short). Same values as above, but I wasn't paying enough attention, and didn't plan my route.

    Different vehicle:

    Mercedes ML-320 AWD SUV with all the modern stability & braking features. A coworker got snowed in (his AWD Audi A4 didn't have the ground clearance necessary to get out of his driveway) so I went to pick him up & run him to the supermarket. I stayed in low range, and as I drove up his street I passed an older Ford pickup. It was 2-wheel RWD, and he was just sitting there spinning the back left wheel with no traction. I had no problems, despite the front spoiler pushing up a small ridge of snow (8+" of snow depth)

    Same vehicle, different supermarket, different conditions: The road was ice-covered because it never got any sunlight to melt it off. I was creeping along when the SUV spun out to the right (I was moving very slowly). The stability system never kicked in (I assume because I wasn't going fast enough). I probably shouldn't have been on that road.

    So moral of these stories:

    1. Drive smart
    2. Technology is only an aid for #1, not a replacement.
    3. But having a good balanced car with good winter tires can still help some.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  7. #7
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    It has been said "God is on the side of the heavy battalions". You can extrapolate that to mean you're better off in a larger vehicle where mass and momentum are on your side, but that's not the question you asked.

    In a wreck, yeah.

    Avoiding the wreck, though, until the moment you strike another object occurs, mass is the enemy.

    I would suggest the best car for most winter conditions would be something along the lines of a Subaru Outback Sport or Subaru Forester.

  8. #8
    mrblanche
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by ColleenC2
    Doesn't a heavier vehicle have the ability to "crunch" into the ice?
    No, just crunch into something else.

    Where you live, if you get up in the morning and there is ice on the sidewalk, just go back to bed. Wait until noon before you go out. Any pay you might miss will be small compared to the cost of an accident, and no vehicle will actually do well on real ice.

    Believe me on this one!

    Mike

  9. #9
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    [

    No, just crunch into something else.

    Where you live, if you get up in the morning and there is ice on the sidewalk, just go back to bed. Wait until noon before you go out. Any pay you might miss will be small compared to the cost of an accident, and no vehicle will actually do well on real ice.

    Believe me on this one!

    Mike
    Well, I believe you.

    Actually, ice at around freezing temperatures worst sort: there's going to be a liquid or almost liquid surface which will serve to lubricate the action.

    Another thing, on ice (or snow) it is much easier to build speed than it is to trun or stop. The 4WD vehicles can give a false sense of security.

    And, no matter how good the vehicle or its driver, there is bound to be some fool out there who will run into you.

  10. #10
    ColleenC2
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    Re: I have a question

    Where you live, if you get up in the morning and there is ice on the sidewalk, just go back to bed. Wait until noon before you go out. Any pay you might miss will be small compared to the cost of an accident, and no vehicle will actually do well on real ice.

    Believe me on this one!

    Mike


    I believe you!! I believe, I believe!! ;D


  11. #11
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    Re: I have a question

    The best car I ever had in the ice and snow was a lowly RWD 1981 Toyota Starlet. With a high ground clearance and extremely light weight (1700lbs) I was able to glide over any snowfall CT, MA and NY could throw at me. I never got stuck in that car. I owned it for 23 years. Best car I ever owned. It was a car the likes of which we'll never see again.

  12. #12
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    The best car I ever had in the ice and snow was a lowly RWD 1981 Toyota Starlet. With a high ground clearance and extremely light weight (1700lbs) I was able to glide over any snowfall CT, MA and NY could throw at me. I never got stuck in that car. I owned it for 23 years. Best car I ever owned. It was a car the likes of which we'll never see again.
    Narrow tires are a boon in the ice and snow too. The Starlet probably had 145s?

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    The best car I ever had in the ice and snow was a lowly RWD 1981 Toyota Starlet. With a high ground clearance and extremely light weight (1700lbs) I was able to glide over any snowfall CT, MA and NY could throw at me. I never got stuck in that car. I owned it for 23 years. Best car I ever owned. It was a car the likes of which we'll never see again.
    Now that WAS a great little shitbox! I remember them well!

    My '69 VW Squareback (FI, incidentally) was also a tough little mutha...

  14. #14
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    The best car I ever had in the ice and snow was a lowly RWD 1981 Toyota Starlet. With a high ground clearance and extremely light weight (1700lbs) I was able to glide over any snowfall CT, MA and NY could throw at me. I never got stuck in that car. I owned it for 23 years. Best car I ever owned. It was a car the likes of which we'll never see again.
    Now that WAS a great little shitbox! I remember them well!

    My '69 VW Squareback (FI, incidentally) was also a tough little mutha...
    LOL. I was a great car all around. Read the January 1981 edition of Car and Driver. They did a pretty comprehensive road test on it. That was back in the days when C/D was a decent auto rag. Today, its commercialized crap.

    BTW, I put 175/70 series tires on mine. Those improved the handling tremendously, although they had a negative effect on gas mileage.

    When the car was new, I got 33 mpg city and 40 on the highway (65-70 mph). Top speed was 87 mph.


  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    The best car I ever had in the ice and snow was a lowly RWD 1981 Toyota Starlet. With a high ground clearance and extremely light weight (1700lbs) I was able to glide over any snowfall CT, MA and NY could throw at me. I never got stuck in that car. I owned it for 23 years. Best car I ever owned. It was a car the likes of which we'll never see again.
    Now that WAS a great little shitbox! I remember them well!

    My '69 VW Squareback (FI, incidentally) was also a tough little mutha...
    LOL. I was a great car all around. Read the January 1981 edition of Car and Driver. They did a pretty comprehensive road test on it. That was back in the days when C/D was a decent auto rag. Today, its commercialized crap.

    BTW, I put 175/70 series tires on mine. Those improved the handling tremendously, although they had a negative effect on gas mileage.

    When the car was new, I got 33 mpg city and 40 on the highway (65-70 mph). Top speed was 87 mph.

    I can relate!

    My VW was hard to kill - though sometimes, you had to kick it in the driver's side rear quarter to get it to run. Seriously. I found this out by accident. One cold day, it would crank but not start. So I kicked the SOB - and then it did. Apparently, the force of my blow reset something in the FI, allowing it to catch.

    Once I slid off the road on some ice and hit a curb hard. It bent the front suspension so that the car pulled violently to the left - unless you used an Ahnoold death grip on the wheel to keep it pointed straight. The tires did not like this much...

  16. #16
    mrblanche
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    Re: I have a question

    Oddly enough, I have a Toyota Starlet sitting in my yard in Arkansas. Never has run in all the time I've owned it. I've considered using the drive train in a hot rod.


  17. #17
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Oddly enough, I have a Toyota Starlet sitting in my yard in Arkansas. Never has run in all the time I've owned it. I've considered using the drive train in a hot rod.

    That wouldn't even be a warm rod.

  18. #18
    mrblanche
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    That wouldn't even be a warm rod.
    Well, keep in mind the engine in my T came out of a 1970 Caprice.

  19. #19
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: I have a question

    That's still a far cry from a Toyota Starlet.

  20. #20
    mrblanche
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    Re: I have a question

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    That's still a far cry from a Toyota Starlet.
    Yes, but if we're talking power/weight ratio, which is the crucial point, then they're not that far apart.

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