Friday, January 13, 2012

Slip Sliding Away

During yesterday's minor snowstorm, I was forced to see how well my Ford Mustang would perform in the snow on roads that were not well cleared. The Mustang is light in the rear, with fat tires, rear wheel drive and lots of torque which makes driving a Mustang in the snow a harrowing experience. I drove as carefully as possible yesterday and even I, a driver who was seasoned on plowing through many Chicago snowstorms over the years, had a very difficult time. At one point, I spun out and did a 180 in the middle of the road.

All the above being said, people drove real wheel drive cars in inclement weather for decades before front-wheel drive and ABS became standard. And even now that it's the norm, I still see those sort of cars in ditches. It's the driver of the car as much as it's the car itself that determines how well the commute in the snow will go. I sought out some advice from some fellow Mustang owners who often drive in the snow and here's what I have come up with:

  • Always keep at least a half tank of gas in the car. This adds much needed weight to the rear. 
  • Invest in some snow tires. 
  • If you're driving an automatic, when you come to a stop on slippery surfaces, shift to neutral. This will take the engine drive away from the rear wheels and make braking more effective.
  • Be careful if you decide to add weight to the trunk. It may cause you some problems on corners.

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