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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2003, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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Snow driving stuff

Just thought I'd share my experiences.

I took my car out to a back road and decided to test spinning out. Boy! Was I in for a surprise! Little did I know how freaked out I would be. I eventually got used to driving in snow, but BOY, a 180 degree spin... yikes!!

There are a few things I realized when driving with freshly sticking snow. I'd like to share a few with you. I'm open to be corrected or to have more knowledge since tonight's drive made me feel like a total newb driver.

Anyways, I was driving my family's 1985 FF Corolla (alone) with the 1.6L carburated engine (78hp/82tq). All-season tires were in use. The snow was freshly falling and had coated the ground already.

During the few minutes I tested my skills (or lack thereof, which I found out soon enough), I brought my car up to a steady 25 km/h, turned slightly, and pulled the e-brake. WHOOSH! My car switched ends even when I tried to countersteer. "It was like drifting... but not really". LOL. I did this a few times (turning left and pulling my e-brake, then turning right and doing the same) until I started to get a feel to what sliding was like.

I like my Dad's advice when I told him about my drive: "If you ever get into a skid, I wish you good luck." What I learned: Drive slow and steady. Any reckless snow driving will lead to an accident or damage to your car almost 100% of the time. I realized that there's a certain point in a spin out where the only thing one can do is just spin out more. Past that point, countersteering and even accelerating proved in effective.

Another thing I learned: With FWD (and possibly AWD), the best way to get out of a spin out is to point in the direction that you want your car to be going and facing and press on the accelerator, not the brake. I found that when I *instinctly* pressed on the brake while going into a slide (no ABS here), my car just spun out more. I ended up stopping, but not before doing an uncontrolled 180 degree spin. When I countersteered and pressed the throttle, my car swayed here and there, but I'd eventually regain traction. (This reminds me of the slalom level in one of the License tests in Gran Turismo). It MAY be different with ABS. Anyone care to add?

One more thing: BUY SNOW TIRES if you're gonna drive out in the snow lots. Or just drive super slow.

It was fun and exhilirating. I'm hoping to practice a bit more so I'm more trained to tackle in case I ever really need to.
Sorry for the long post. I just had a ton of fun.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2003, 05:02 AM
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Snow driving stuff

It's snowing heavily today in GVA. Heaviest I've seen in years. Had a chance to test the tires. Boy there was no grip at all. Can't even go uphill. Had to drive like a grandma. I passed Lansdowne Mall, and saw a few cars spinning on the parking lot. Looked like they're having fun

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2003, 05:05 AM
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Snow driving stuff

When you skid all over, you shouldn't hit the brake all the way. Press and let go, press and let go. That's how the ABS works. Even though my car has the ABS installed, I still do that. Reflex I guess.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2003, 09:22 AM
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Snow driving stuff

You shouldn't, with ABS, Absinthe... that degrades its effectiveness greatly.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2003, 09:32 AM
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Snow driving stuff

Right, ABS simply pumps the brakes at many times a minute. The result is a reaction time faster than any human manual reaction.

When I've been going straight in snow and hitting the gas and losing traction, I've found that pressing the clutch has helped a great deal. Going around a turn, I haven't done in a manual car in a while, I think I just took it really slow, though I can see how hitting the accelerator instead of the brake would be more beneficial:

hitting the brakes causes more force to the ground opposite the direction you're going which can cause a spinout while the accelerator will add more force in the direction you're going, regaining some traction?

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2004, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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Snow driving stuff

I think that when one brakes, the weight of the car transfers all to the front wheels and makes the rear end floaty, thus easier spin out.
When you power it, your front wheels start grabbing for grip and the rear gets *some* traction... is this what you may be referring to, rpc180?

Also, can we get some reviews on the MZ3 in the snow? Just wondering if the suspension setup helps with FWD snow issues.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2004, 11:51 AM
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Snow driving stuff

I've found the main key to spinning out is not to freak out. If you maintain your cool, it'll will all go alot smoother. When I first got my Jeep, I decided to teach myself how to react. My parents told me patches of wet leaves ould be slippery. When I found my first patch of wet leaves on a turn, I floored it. Brought the rear end around to the front, but with a little bit of countersteer, I was back on track. I did the same all winter in the snow just for fun. When it came time to do it in a real spinout/skidding situation, I was ready. I was comfortable enought to just keep the one hand on the wheel and the other on the stick and not even react at all, just correct it. Meanwhile my girl would be sh!tting herself in the passenger seat. The other thing I have learned about losing control is "no brake". When the tires lock up and slide, you have no steering. That is the reason ABS pumps your brakes. To maintain steering ability. I don't know if I would go as far as to punch the gas, but if you just take your foot off the pedals, you let the car decellerate and lose momentum while maintains tire rotation. Also with the sportmatic AT, downshifting while stopping can be beneficial, kinda like the same technique as a start tranny.

Sorry bout the length
Craig
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2004, 09:14 PM
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Snow driving stuff

I've always wanted to go to a large open course and just set up these situations for myself. I'm a bit too cautious to do it on the road, so I don't think I'd do it your way Telly.

What I'd really like to do is go to a school for high speed tactical driving :P


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2004, 10:56 PM
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Snow driving stuff

I think BMW offers that in Europe.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 12:42 AM
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Snow driving stuff

Ya BMW offers that here too, I think. My boss at work did it with his Z8. There's also the mission raceway. They do some lessons on high speed driving but I don't think they cover snow or ice or slippery stuff.

Got a Mazda3 GT Sedan Dec 2003... Titanium grey w/ GFX and MP3 player. Falken ZIEX-512 tires and all-season floor mats.
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