4WD Does Little On Ice For Man . . . or Man’s Best Friend

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.49.02 AMI have long complained how SUV owners seem more likely to crash because they think that 4WD gives them magic powers and relieves them of the need to learn how to drive on snow. It appears that 4PD (four paw drive) does little more for the dog world.

This puppy is discovering how to deal with ice for the first time.

Good luck to all of our readers on the East Coast facing another snow hit. To the chagrin of my kids, we look like we dodged another storm in Northern Virginia. Drive carefully folks.

23 thoughts on “4WD Does Little On Ice For Man . . . or Man’s Best Friend”

  1. Thanks, Darrell and DBQ. When we drive up to the nearby mountain, there is one side of the mountain that tends to thaw and then refreeze. The snow will have a hard crust of ice, and black ice is common on that road. It won’t be there in the morning, but on the way down, it’s there. The road is a series of curves and switchbacks, with nothing but a low guard rail between you and being found next spring.

    I also clearly recall getting stuck in a blizzard on a mountain road in Wyoming with my husband, before we had our son. The road had a lot of icy patches. I had to pry my fingers off the dash when we got to the bottom.

    Without getting much practice in snow driving (we live just barely above the snow line), the problem is having to think about what to do. I know to steer into the slide, but that’s about it. Good advice about hugging the shoulder and having the flashers on. People always come right up behind you on curvy roads.

    Darrell – is there ice fishing near you? It sounds like you get some serious winter weather!

  2. Ice on bridges isn’t better or worse than ice on the roads. The real issue is that ice can form on bridges sooner than it can on roads (for the terra firma reason mentioned by Nick). You are driving safely and fast on a road, cross a bridge and wango, you just hit ice.

    40 years safely driving in Western NY probably near Lloyd, and also a Ford 4×4 driver

    1. Michael Libby – I think it has to do with bridges being concrete and the roads being macadam. The bridges cool slower.

  3. Funny. I drive a front wheel drive 2009 Civic with all season tires in western NY (avg 100 inches of snow a year) and have not had an accident and have not been stuck in the snow. Drive smart and you don’t need a monster, 4-wheel drive with 18-inch snows that is slow to respond and prone to tipping…..

    I see more SUVs stuck in the median or off the side of the road in a ditch than I see smaller vehicles. The bigger the vehicle the more invincible the driver feels, regardless of the reality….

    Cute videos…..

  4. Ice is worse on bridges because there is no warm terra firma under it like on roadways.

  5. DBQ, My old man loved those stud tires. But, they were made illegal in Ct., and it broke his heart.

  6. Ditto what Darrel said about the black ice. Slow and don’t slam on the brakes. Generally the black ice areas are cindered for traction or you go slightly off the shoulder if it isn’t already blocked by snow…but if the road looks wet and it is cold….don’t take chances. It is likely black ice.

    Swerving on mountain roads. Don’t go fast (what’s the hurry) and quickly turn into the skid or swerve and then quickly over correct. Fishtail out of it. Then clean your drawers. Thankfully I’ve never done worse than to over-over correct and run into a snow berm on the side of the road.

    The other people are a worry for me. I know what I am capable of….which is why I stay home unless I have to go somewhere πŸ™‚ Another reason to have a pump house stocked with food, booze and other supplies. No need to rush to the store for “bread and milk” πŸ™‚ The other people out there driving….especially those new to the area……dangerous.

    1. DBQ – once you hit that black ice, the car is no longer under your control. You go with God. πŸ˜‰

      1. That’s for sure. Hopefully on a straight stretch. Just aim your car and pray.

        Generally the black ice is worse on the bridges for some reason.

        1. DBQ – Aim? Who gets to aim? Just take your glasses off so the airbag won’t break them.

  7. With black ice I drive very slowly, 4-way flashers on, with right side wheels in the snow/grit on the right shoulder of the road and try never to stop.
    The other guy is so dangerous I usually stay put somewhere safe….Darrel

  8. First I must be able to steer our of trouble, then braking is my second requirement. If I cant go I’m not going to get in any trouble.
    Continental severe winter track tires were tested and found to be the worlds best studless winter tire by the Nordic countries(see Tire Rack.com)
    Gislaved(sp?) is the worlds best studded and Nokian( far more available) is a real close 2nd best.
    Now that you have the best, look out for all those who have poor control of their vehicles starting with the ones in your rear view mirror.
    “If you can’t afford the worlds best tires, you can’t afford the vehicle”
    All weather tires are a blatant advertising lie. They are very little better than a hard compound long life summer tire and worse than worthless in winter in that their owners believe they are capable of great grip and are dying to prove it, but actually are dying of their ignorance, thus proving themselves dead wrong!

    I live near Sherman/Findley Lake NY and relish my winters of 225-310 inches of snow…………….Darrel

  9. DBQ – what are you supposed to do about turning into the spin if you’re on a mountain road? I’ve always wondered about that . . . On one of the mountain roads in the area, one side tends to get black ice.

    Since we only get fun snow down here, I’m not like my sister in law. She lives in the Land of Winter in Idaho, and can drive perfectly in literally any weather.

  10. Poor Bernese Mountain Dog.

    I don’t have very much practice at it, so ice driving makes me nervous. We just get “fun snow” here.

  11. @ Nick.

    They are not illegal in California (at least in my area) you just can’t use them after April. Two sets of wheels. One winter. One the rest of the year. The studs are for driving on those icy roads. Lots of black ice. They regularly “cinder” the roads in the winter in the icy shaded spots. Then you get to watch out not just for ice but for chipped and broken windshields from flying cinders.

    If you can’t find them, try Craigslist in one of the Northern Ca cities.

  12. 4 wheel drive is for snow. My son had his 10th birthday party @ a Monster Truck Show, years back. If you want the definition of love, it is taking your son to a Monster Truck Show. Anyway, there was a blizzard the day of his birthday. We had 14 inches of snow. However, the Monster Truck people did not cancel the show. I surmise it was not, “The show must go on” but “We’re not issuing any refunds.” So, I piled my son and 5 friends[not all were seat belted..sue me!] into my Toyota 4 Runner. I drove through 14 inches of snow like it was a summer day. Did a few donuts for the boys in the near empty parking lot. It was a memorable evening topped off w/ a horrible headache from the noise and exhaust fumes @ the show.

  13. DBQ, I thought studded snow tires were now illegal. Do you import them from China? Mexico?

  14. I know the law of physics. Drive an SUV (4000 Lb) Nissan Murano SUV AWD w/options NAV system, Bose sound system & cold weather package loaded.
    Have 18” Goodyear Assurance CS triple tread tires (Bought 4 tires new $1K set of 4, 2014). Don’t mess with the law of physics. I stay off the road in ice.
    Meantime, car insurance premiums keep going up with excellent driving record. No points, no accidents, cleaning DMV record for 30 years. Should I cry rape? Insurance company is Liberty Mutual.

  15. Poor little Quinn. πŸ™‚

    We use studded mud and snow tires in the winter. Chains when it is really bad and we have to go any distance. All wheel drive or 4×4 vehicle. Drive slow and leave a lot of distance between you and the next car. Turn into your spin to get control and steer hard the opposite direction. Wiggle your way down the road and don’t slam on the brakes.

    We used to have a Subaru Outback all wheel drive. That thing was bulletproof and really good for driving on ice or snowpacked roads. Off road or on unplowed roads….not that good because of the low profile.

    People who don’t regularly drive in winter snowy conditions really don’t know what they are doing and should just stay home unless they absolutely have to go out. Make a cup of tea and bake some cookies.

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