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Old 01-11-2011, 06:52 PM   #1
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Any tips for driving these things in snow?

I about lost it today, first time ive had it out in snow. The tires are fairly new ide guess 3/4 of their life. (firestone firehawk)

Entering the highway the onramp was pretty much packed snow, the highway was clear in the right lane. As i was about to leave the packed snow i was doing 40-45 and hit a clean patch then i hit large patch of slush and the rear kicked out for some reason and it went into a really bad fishtail. I let off the gas and tried to counter steer and it seem to make it worse.

It was like when i hit the slush the front kinda dropped but the rear wanted to push threw and thats when it started to kickout.


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Old 01-11-2011, 06:54 PM   #2
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I know this might sound weird but...keep your foot down and push through it...
thats what i have been told to do but its hard to do...

what do you drive anyway
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:16 PM   #3
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Its in my avatar, 07 SE ZX3.

That may of been my problem.

I think what i did was first i tried to counter steer then i let off once it kicked the other way. I think finaly it slowed down enough it tracked straight again.

It threw my sub box all over back there and i thought it was going to tear my wheels apart.
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:25 PM   #4
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You have to gently apply gas to pull the car towards the direction you want to move. In front-wheel drive cars the wheels that steer the car also pull the car forward (as opposed to rear-wheel drive where it pushes from behind). Make sense? If you panic and slam the brakes, the car will nosedive and slide the back end around with all its dead weight. This is why the fishtailing got worse.

Also don't expect to magically pull out of that situation by applying the gas all the time. There will be certain situations where you can lose all traction and be completely sideways no matter what you do. Dedicated winter tires definitely help, but driving slowly is even better. There is no magic speed limit that offers a threshold for breaking traction. It can happen at any time, but slowing down will at least reduces your chances.

Having an older car isn't an excuse either. Even with traction and stability control you can easily spin a car out if you push it enough. You can't defeat the laws of physics. If it makes you feel any better, cars with ABS can sometimes take a greater distance to stop on snow/ice. I actually miss my Focus because it stopped quicker in winter conditions.

You just need to familiarize yourself with how your car handles in different conditions. Finding an empty parking lot (without curbs or lamp posts) is a good way to do just that. It's fun too!
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:34 PM   #5
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mmmoose is right..i didnt exactly explain that right...sorry to misdirect you..

to get good at driving in snow/ice..go practice in an empty parkinglot...(really empty) and put yourself in situations and try to get out of them...
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmoose View Post
If you panic and slam the brakes, the car will nosedive and slide the back end around with all its dead weight. This is why the fishtailing got worse.


You just need to familiarize yourself with how your car handles in different conditions. Finding an empty parking lot (without curbs or lamp posts) is a good way to do just that. It's fun too!
Well when it hit the slush on the right front it did seem to nosedive and it pulled the wheel which i think started it.

I do need to take it out and buzz around in an open parking lot and get a feel for the car. I did this alot with my last car and i got very fermiliar with it quick. It was a large car though with alot more weight.
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:33 PM   #7
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Do yourself (and others in your vicinity) a favor, and get some snow tires. It is amazing how much of a difference a purpose built tread and winter rubber compound will make. My Michelin X-Ice xi2 are fantastic on ice, slush and snow. Sure its an extra $350-$550 depending on the tire and the size, but what is your insurance deductible? Get some steelies and order some snow tires from TireRack (they even have winter packages).
Also follow the above advise. Good luck
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:45 PM   #8
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I -just- got home from driving out in the snow/slush here in South Eastern PA and I have to say with 4 snow tires on my ZX3 I was pulling through it all just fine while I saw lots of other people getting stuck and dumping it into ditches.

For me the real trick is slow consistency. Don't make any sudden movements. If you feel the car start to get up on the snow just let off the gas until you feel traction again. If you feel your wheels start to spin and "plow through" the slush, keep on the gas. If you think you need to slow down, just let off the gas and only use the brakes if you're going in a straight line.

There are tons of tricks/tips to driving anything in the snow. For the Focus just remember it's like any other light-weight FWD car. Best things you can do are:

1) Practice
2) Snow Tires
3) Stay home if you're uncomfortable.
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:47 PM   #9
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snow tires FTW



i need them though.,....
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:10 PM   #10
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yep , snow tires are really worth the money.
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