February 10, 2011

How to Drive in the Snow

From the Car Lust blog:
I learned to drive in snow in the car I learned to drive in, a 1967 LeMans with a V-8 and automatic. I don't know what the front-rear weight distribution on that car was, but I wouldn't be shocked if at least 60% was on the front tires. Thanks to the nose-heavy bias, the Le Mans was very prone to losing rear wheel traction in all but ideal conditions. Because of some additional peculiarities in the drivetrain, it was often hard to find the "sweet spot" between too little throttle (torque converter stalls, car just sits there, driver feels stupid) and too much (engine races, rear wheels spin, driver feels stupid) when trying to get moving on a snow-covered road. If you gave it too much and then backed off the throttle to try and get traction back, often as not it would just bog down on you.
Me, I learned snow-driving in my mother's 1967 Mustang.

I learned to turn slo-owly. To brake slo-owly. To accelerate slo-owly. To be very afraid.

On the other hand, a friend who lived in the "Wet Kootenay" (West Kootenay) mountains in British Columbia developed a technique of using the walls of snow lining the roads as billiard bumpers.

The comments, for a change, are worthwhile.


Fran said...

Hello, my name is Fran and I work for Ford. I'm sorry you had to worry about driving our car in the snow. Please contact me at fordshill@bs.com and I will do everything I can to resolve the situation.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Oh my god, the Frans, they're everywhere!

Anonymous said...


Dan said he did most of his early snow driving in either an International with bald tires or his '68 Mustang. As with you, break sloooowy, accelerate even slower and to turn, aim the car where you wanted it to go and just barely touch the gas.

Me, I learned in a Ford Falcon. Dad said drive like you have no breaks. It worked. Still works. It's how we got home from Pueblo yesterday.