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Driving Tip of the Moment:

Winter Driving, Part I

Every year in many parts of the world, at different times of the year, Mother Nature reminds us that it's wintertime. And we must remind ourselves how to drive. I've noticed that ice racers are never daunted by the idea of driving on the ice and snow. We rather look forward to the first snow! Most other people would rather stay home. Why this difference? Because ice racers are the type of people that enjoy learning how to master car control. But why should they...OK, we... get to have all the fun?

The best way to become comfortable on the snow and ice is to learn how the weight of your car is distributed. How much does your car weigh? Where is the weight concentrated? The car in the photo here has nearly perfect 50-50 front-rear weight distribution, making it very predictable. On ice and snow, one must use a very different driving technique than on dry pavement. The accelerator, brake pedal, and steering wheel all operate differently. The most important thing you must remember is that you should do everything smoothly. It might be obvious that you should press the accelerator pedal more slowly on the snow, but did you also realize you should always remove your foot from the accelerator cable slowly and smoothly as well? Ice racers learn how to do this, but they're not the only people that should be allowed to benefit from this knowledge. And it doesn't matter whether you drive a rear-wheel or front-wheel drive car - you still have to learn how your car works! Go practice in a parking lot and drive in a few circles or figure-eights after the snowstorm. Practice, practice, practice!

And make sure your windshield fluid reservoir is full before you get on the highway!

[Damaged Vehicles in Snowy Pileup on I-80]

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©2004 - Steven J. Bernstein All rights reserved.

Comments to:
Steven Jay Bernstein
created Saturday, 19 July 1997 13:31:04
updated Friday, 22 December 2004 12:02:34