What They Don’t Teach About Snow Driving

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The Safety Cult wants you to be afraid of driving in the snow. It wants you to rely on “technology” rather than skill to get through the snow. It’s why so many people can’t deal with driving in the snow. 

A counter-intuitive way to make the point is to point out one of the most capable-in-snow vehicles ever made – which had no “technology” to speak of beyond an engine and a transmission. It didn’t even have snow tires. What made it so adept at fording through the frozen effluvia were two attributes that are not found in almost any new car and no new car, together. 

The first was a rear-mounted engine, driving the rear wheels.

People are told by “experts” that rear-wheel-drive means not being able to drive in the snow. These “experts” have convinced millions of people they must have at least front-wheel-drive and (ideally) all-wheel-drive and the proposition appears sound. After all, having all four wheels pulling for you – and being pulled rather than pushed – seems advantageous vs. just two wheels pushing. 

Unless, of course, something is pushing down on those wheels.

The Mystery Car that forms the subject of this example was not just rear-drive. It was rear-engined. The weight of that engine pushed down on the wheels that were pushing the car forward – and they were able to cut down through the snow to the pavement below because they were tall and skinny, like pizza pie plates. This latter being the second attribute – and one unavailable with any vehicle built in the past couple of decades.

Perhaps you know the Mystery Car’s name. 

It was the original VW Beetle. Designed decades before there was “technology” to “assist” in snow driving.

It had no traction or stability control; no “modes” for snow.

Instead, effective design for dealing with snow. Something the Germans who designed it knew a lot about. If you knew how to drive it in the snow, an old Beetle could and would get you through it. 

Today’s cars are designed at cross-purposes for dealing with it.

The one rear-engined car you can still  buy new – the Porsche 911 – rides low on wide wheels and steamroller tires that negate the snow-day traction advantage of having the engine sitting on top of the drive wheels. Porsche 911s handle superbly. But they’re made for the snow like Pierre Trudeau is made for mixed martial arts combat.

Front-drive/all-wheel-drive cars have the functional advantage of pulling rather than pushing – and all four wheels pulling. But they often have the disadvantage of wheels (and tires) that diminish these advantages. “Sport” tires designed for dry and wet weather grip but not for traction in snow. They also often ride so low to the ground that they ride over the snow, compounding the problem. Most also have “technology” – traction/stability control – that can reduce it in certain situations where a driver in control would do a better job of maintaining the vehicle’s momentum.

When the “technology” senses wheel-slip (loss of traction) the electronic reaction is to reduce engine power and (sometimes) to apply braking power. This does stabilize the vehicle’s “line” – its direction of travel. But it can also reduce its momentum at precisely the moment when that is the last thing you want – assuming you want to make it up that snow-and-ice-slicked incline.

A driver who knows how to control his vehicle can do so even when the vehicle isn’t tracking straight. A good example of this being the professional drifters who go through the corners sideways – but under control.

Of course, this takes skill – something no longer expected of drivers.

Instead, “technology.”

Many new vehicles have traction/stability control that either cannot be fully disabled – as in entirely turned off by the driver – or which peremptorily comes back on after the vehicle reaches a certain speed. This takes control over that from the driver, who is presumed to need it even in situations where a skilled driver doesn’t.

No modern cars have ABS – anti-lock brakes – that can be even partially disabled. This means you cannot lock the wheels up – which can give you more control in certain driving situations. Note that race cars do not have ABS. And high-performance driving schools have cars fitted with ABS off switches.

With ABS – which usually works with the traction/stability control system – the wheels will continue to rotate as the system applies braking pressure and then releases it – which can increase stopping distances on ice, for instance, vs. a driver who knows how to apply the brakes on ice.

The classic Beetle gave the driver full control – over everything. Down to the shifting – as most old Beetles had manual rather than automatic transmissions. It gave the driver the necessary equipment for dealing with snow, in other words – rather than “technology.” If the driver had the skills to use that equipment, snow was not a problem – just as a framing square is all you need to build a square wall or straight set of stairs – assuming you know how to use a framing square.

If you don’t, all the “technology” in the world isn’t going to make up for its lack.

. . .

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63 COMMENTS

  1. Tires, what about them tires?

    The original tires on the new truck were General, an all season tire. Bought two more sets, at around 40000 miles the tires are on their last legs.

    The plies tend to let loose, the tires are worn out.

    Had to give up on that brand, bought a new set of all season Cooper tires. Very satisfied with the purchase so far. Have had Cooper tires on another vehicle and are a good choice.

    Hankook would be a good brand to buy, in my humble opinion.

    About those idiots in Ottawa and Washington:

    “Getting the story on a company is a lot easier if you understand the basic business. That’s why I’d rather invest in panty hose than in communications satellites, or in motel chains than in fiber optics. The simpler it is, the better I like it. When somebody says, “Any idiot could run this joint,” that’s a plus as far as I’m concerned, because sooner or later any idiot probably is going to be running it.” – Peter Lynch

    Well, not a company, but the gov is being run by Joe Biden, the village idiot in the White House running the show.

    Justin Trudeau is another fine example of another village idiot. He’s up there in Canada, the Big Village, native word translation. The biggest idiot of them all, Justin Trudeau wins the trophy.

    Justin Trudeau and Joe Biden will both be served a plate of crow and some humble pie.

  2. When we were in high school, back in the dark ages of the 70s, we took advantage of snow days (or snow afternoons if the snow started after we were at school) to take our cars out and deliberately go driving in crappy conditions so we knew how-though that wasn’t what we thought we were doing. Years latter I’d be sure to go out, find a nice empty parking lot and cavort with whatever I was driving at the time, just to keep in practice. My wife rolls her eyes at the first and won’t allow the later with her new Jeep Cherokee…Trialhawk for Pete’s sake! WTH else is it good for if not that?

    • Yeah. Driving a 1970 Ford, big beast, can’t remember what it was, rear wheel drive through hay fields with 8-12 inches of snow. With a several friends and some beverages. Do not stop. Keep going, blast through the snow. Had a blast our own snow machine. The chains helped a lot. Never got stuck. Fun fun.

    • Same here, Freeholder –

      It was fun practicing drifts, 180s and 360 in a snow-covered parking lot. Today, you’d probably get Hut! Hut! Hutted! for that…

    • You can roll start most manual transmission cars and trucks. My brother had a very old and worn out F250 diesel which he filled with waste oil mixture. It didn’t want to cold start, so I’d toll it up to 20+ mph and dump the clutch in 4th gear, let it turn untill it had power. Fourtunatly work and home were on big hills. Nothing like steering and braking a big old junker without the power assist. BTW engine blew up pretty quick. Diesel is totally worth it.

  3. Maybe you’d be so kind as to discuss tires for snow. I live in the southern Colorado Rockies with dirt roads and snow close to half the year. Have used studded snow tires for years but am tired of switching to summer tires and back.
    I’ve got a 2008 Honda Pilot that’s going to need some new tires one of these days… and your (often fun) comments would be welcome.

  4. Great article Eric. My mom used to drive a Beetle when she was a teenager and lived in Steamboat and the snow was never an issue for her with that car.

    • Thanks, Brian!

      The mom of a good friend of mine growing up had a Beetle and would drive my friend and me to school in it. I think it’s why I ended up owning several Beetles myself, later on. Great memories – of a great car!

  5. Back when I was a kid we would put chains on the one we had around the farm, with two big farms boys and a couple plastic buckets for digging we could pretty much go anywhere we could find bottom. We would drive it right into the biggest drifts we could, got stuck, get out, clear some snow and away we go again. You weren’t crossing fields with four feet of snow but the roads never got so bad even in the worst blizzards that we couldn’t go have some fun. (heater sucked and windshield would get frozen though)

    This year I didn’t even put my snow tires on. I’ve got a full set, it just never snowed enough to bother and this in Northern Michigan. Partly I was just lazy but really I worry way more about everyone else on the road, I rarely feel tense being on the road, no matter how bad it is and I hate the way the car rides with the snow tires on.

    Still for noobs snow tires are great, that and just going out and beating on their car in the snow for a while, go have some fun and learn how to drive your vehicle in the snow at the same time. Every time I get a new vehicle I beat the shit right out of it in all conditions for a while, just so I know how it handles.

    Go out and have some fun with your car or truck in the snow in a somewhat controlled situation and get your fine-motor skills downs, driving even in bad conditions can be fun if you know you can handle it. In fact some of the most fun I have had recent years is driving in really rotten snow over to a budd’s house. It’s 20 miles of back roads, I never see another car and it gives me an excuse to be a bit of a kid again, if you know what I mean.

    • Hi LGarou,

      Old Beetle heaters could do the job – if the ductwork was tight and cables were in dood working order. The car had a small interior space to heat and you might be surprised how warm it got. I have owned several of them, so I speak from personal experience. The problem was – often, anyway – that the cables were frozen and the tinwork/ductwork was not tight. Then it was very cold!

      • My brother had a karmen ghia,. The other problem was that the heater tended to fill the cab with exhaust and it would stay on in the summer. And those produce about 100,000x more pollution than modern cars so it made him sleepy and retarded.

        • Hi Anon,

          The heaters in old air-cooled VWs worked by passing air over the engine using a fan and ducting it to the car’s interior. If the tinwork was tight and the exhaust in good order, exhaust gasses would not enter the car’s interior. It’s not really fair to blame any car for its owner’s failure to maintain it.

  6. Learned driving 101 in Phoenix. A year or two later got caught by snow up at Zion. “Oh, I’ll pull in there and get a sandwich.” Car said “over there? Lol, we going straight. With a bit of yaw.” Changed my mind; lower elevation before it gets worse. A few miles of straight lines then into the canyon. How did I fare? Quite well. I grew up in the north east and would go bicycle riding in the snow for fun. It translated well enough to get me down at reasonable speeds.

  7. Maybe those EV’s with the ultra heavy batteries can plow through the snow. I think it’s almost as much the driver as it is the type of vehicle.

    • Tom, i got stuck behind a tesla in the snow one time a couple years ago he went 15 mph in the middle of the road. Didnt take any clues from the growing que of cars waiting for him to scoot over a bit so we could pass. I started blaring my horn highbeaming and moving side to side. It Took him minutes to get the message. I made sure to spin my wheels to throw a bunch of dirty snow on that jerk.

  8. Not long after we moved to NY a friend and I were comparing notes about learning to drive in the snow after living in AZ for years. She told the story of an unusually snowy winter and when she complained to her husband how dark it was he asked if she had cleared the headlamps of snow. Wow! what a difference that makes! Having never really driven in snow we both had made this rookie error.
    Later, but pre lockdowns, I drove an ’06 Jetta 1000 miles a week to Canada and back. Studded tires and a standard transmission absolutely made a huge difference. I never missed a day and never had an accident even when the QEW was closed. Border guards thought it was nuts but it got the job done. Early when we moved to NY from the US southwest I learned to drive in the snow by going to a large unplowed parking lot with no lights or curbs and flogging the car. That way I could tell what it would do in adverse conditions. There is no substitute for skill and practice is how you you get that.

    • KQ once I went to school to find out it was cancelled due to snow. So I made use of its huge empty parking lot to hoon my shitbox. I Had an old 5spd MT maxima it was super fun to pull the e-brake into a corner while doing heavy throttle in 2nd gear. Got in a couple of 50 mph whip turns, drifting tight around the islands and perfecting the fwd oversteer-countersteer process. and even pulled a successful 360 spin. No damage to the car. I learned more in 15 minutes than a year in the school building.

  9. Good article. I remember my dad’s ‘60 Renault Dauphine (4 speed and rear engine). Maybe 50 hp max but it took us through mildly snowy roads on our occasional winter vacations in N. Ca.
    Loved the scent of the red vinyl interior when new.

  10. I learned to drive in snow by going to a vacant parking lot. After about 30 minutes of forcing slides, I learned how to turn into the skid.

    As to ABS, I learned that too, the old school way of pumping the brake pedal. This was in my 61 Chevy impala.

  11. I cut my teeth on the steering wheel of a logging truck hauling pulp and logs out of the North Maine forest in the early seventies.
    Back in those days, the paved roads were snow covered from the first heavy snow until spring breakup.
    Consequently, I learned early on how to drive on snow.
    The first ABS systems on semi trucks were disastrous but were easily disabled.
    Now, every task that is taken over by the car’s brain makes the operator just a little bit more stupid.
    Completely self driving cars will take over in the not too distant future and safety will be better, not because of the cars, but because they will be centrally controlled, and that little skiff of snow on I95 will be enough to stop your plans for the day.

  12. Back in the day, when I first learned to drive at around 14-15 yrs of age, we’d take the RWD, bias-plied tires, cars out and get a head of steam going in snow/ice. Stomp that parking/emergency brake to lock up the rears, and then spin that counter-steering wheel back and forth like crazy to keep it all on the road! Then, do it again and again and again. Then head over to any parking lot, preferrably empty, and practice doing donuts and emergency stops. That was in the 60s. In upstate NY. To this day, I’m never afraid of driving in bad weather, except of course because of the clueless idiots out there.

    • Agree. The best way to learn to drive in the snow is to play in it. See what your car will & won’t do & how to make it do things.

      Once you have spun out, done donuts, slid, skidded, and learned how to control it, you get the “feel” for snow driving.

  13. Takes me back to my first wheels: a 1967 Karmann Ghia. Great on snow, plus a chick magnet. Especially w. the ragtop retracted. But not while it was snowing. Alas, now the snow is on my roof.

  14. I lived about 20 minutes outside of Providence RI during the 1978 blizzard (I-95 littered with abandoned cars). My housemate and I both made it back from school. But he had to leave his Volvo in the street. My VW Squareback happily climbed over the plowed snow ridge into the driveway.

    (Oh, and heat? An upright radiant propane heater on the passenger side floor, prone to falling over around corners.)

    A few years later, I lived among the absolute worst winter drivers driving the absolutely worst cars for snow. The drivers were Germans, and their cars German. I owned a BMW 5-series, and I swear the people that designed it had never heard of snow. It was that bad in the winter. And the Germans persisted in following closely at high speed regardless of road condition, even glatteis (black ice). I was lucky to be able to divert through a rest stop one time returning from Munich. The rest stops can be very long, and that was important because there were probably 100 cars piled up on the autobahn adjacent.

    • Winter of 77/78, my last in the Great White North. -22 and 108mph winds…didn’t get above 0 for two weeks, freezing for over a month. I had nearly 2″ of ice on the floor of my car from getting in and out, heat and freeze.

    • One day in North Carolina it iced. Quarter in of glass on everything. The Caroliners had it Sussex though.

      Driving on ice is dangerous.
      Good idea to spend as little time as possible driving on ice.
      Best way to spend as little time as possible is to drive as fast as possible. Or faster.

  15. Never had an old car, but I learned the fun way about winter driving.

    AWD or Bust Right? NO, got my ’07 A4 stuck and needed help getting it out quite a few times, how I learned about that and tires.

    Rwd? Slapped on some Michelin’s (All seasons, not snow) on my old Mustang and drove up and down my parents driveway with ease (They live up a hill), whereas the work van was stuck on the side and needed to be pushed out.

    Shame they don’t teach people, but it’s not hard to see why they don’t

  16. Back in the 1960’s…
    I drove muscle cars in heavy snow without incident. Despite being rear-wheel drive, low to the ground and grossly overpowered, there were a few steps that I, along with most others who drove such vehicles took…
    “Recap” snow tires were popular in the day. Not terribly expensive, they had massive rubber “lugs” which aided in traction. On dry pavement, they were noisy, but in wintertime who cares?
    200 lbs of sand or other materials in the trunk was also necessary.
    Starting off in second gear was common…
    Never got stuck.

    • I loived in Kansas in the 60’s and remember doing the exact thing. I remember one winter the snow was on the streets mid November and finally melted off the roads in March. I was driving a 55′ Chevy Belair with a 283 and a Ford pickup from the 40’s. The pickup was the best.

  17. Eric, I LOVE these articles in which you hearken back to the old VW Beetles! While I don’t like small cars, I love what the classic Beetle represented: A simple, durable machine that did what it was designed to do via the simplest means possible, which allowed one full autonomy in terms of driver control, serviceability & repair, and economy. And THIS we are prevented from having today, as Uncle will not allow it. No doubt, if not for Uncle, these cars could be manufactured today for no more than the cost of just the mandated ‘safety’ and emissions bullshit which they force every new car to be hobbled with.

    • Thanks, Nunz – and, ditto!

      I want a Super 7… but my head tells me to get another old Beetle. I have owned two previously (along with a ’69 Fastback) and found them to be brilliant at what they were designed to do – which was precisely what you just said!

      • Hi Eric,
        Have you seen the vast availability of VW parts on the market these days?

        It’s not like the old days when you can pick up some old Bug for $200, if you want a ’67 or older, you’re going to pay big bucks for some beater that’s been sitting out in a field for 20 years, but, you can still pick up a later model, especially a Super Beetle, for a reasonable price, they actually handle better and there is a vast aftermarket to make them handle and stop even better!

        It’s quite simple to build an engine twice, even three times the horsepower of a stock engine, with better than stock reliability, and still get 30-35 mpg!

        The smiles per mile one gets from driving a Bug such as I’ve described is quite awesome!

        • Morning, William!

          In my area, I see early-mid ’70s Beetles in “driver” condition going for about $3,000 or so – which isn’t terrible at all for a viable classic car that can be worked on by almost anyone who has basic skills and tools. I have always considered the Beetle to be a fun, happy little car. I now consider it to be one of the best choicest for a survival car as well.

          • We had a VW bug in the mid 1970s and I have always been amazed at the off-road animals they can be made into. Pizza cutter aspect tires helped a great deal. Would not mind having a VW bus for SHTF but they are a bit rare these days.

        • Just saw a ‘79 listed on cargurus for $29,499.

          I had good friend who only serviced and rebuilt VW engines. For $500.00 you would have a brand spanking “new” engine that would last another 100,000 miles. All around best car I ever owned, three of them and every one used. I put racks on the roof to haul lumber to build my home.

  18. I had a VW golf with snow tires on the front. That car was absolute unstoppable in the snow. Same formula: skinny tires with a heavy engine over them. The big tread blocks of the snow tire gripped like crazy.

    I drove a Ford Fusion a few years ago with front wheel drive and relatively skinny tires. It had traction control. I attempted to drive up a very steep snow-covered road. As the tires spun, the traction control would kick in and kill my momentum. I tried to shut it off, but it kept coming back on automatically. I had to make 3 or 4 attempts to get up the road. The only way I could finally get up was to go about 50 mph on the approach to the hill (well above a safe speed for that road). I just barely made it with the front brakes smoking hot from the car trying to impede my efforts the whole way. Traction control just sucks in the snow. And in my case, it proved to be quite dangerous.

      • You raise a good point. I wonder whether that would be effective for the other nannies like lane keep assist, auto braking, etc. I’m thinking these might not be on individual circuits though.

        • I couldn’t find a specific fuse for the ABS on my Corolla so I unplugged the module. Re-connect it when it’s time to get my saaaaaaafety inspection and unplug it again the minute I get home.

            • When its snowy out they tend to do stupid things. And when its dry out what do you need it for? Abs and tcs is great in theory, in practice it usually works. Sometimes it prevents your car from driving properly

  19. Over the years, reading about you guys who drove a Bug – and how you did so – I’m kind of a bit envious. I never had the opportunity.

    I used to see them around here, nowadays the only ones I see are near mint Sunday drivers. Rust never sleeps.

    • I got to grow up when Beetles were at their lowest value. My father bought a cheap one and had it repainted at Earl Schieb for cheap for my step-mother to drive during a tough financial time. I had just gotten my DL and got to drive it a few times. I loved it. It had its own sound too. Can’t mistake another engine for a Beetle engine.

      A friend in high school had a Baja Bug. I thought it was cool.

      A friend’s sister had one, basically the same, repainted cheapie that we would cruise around in. Good times, such that kids today likely do not know that to socialize, you did so without facebook or smartphones, but rather cruise around and go to hip places where other like types congregated.

      Sad part was that I had heard back then that since Beetles were so common, they’d never be worth anything in value. Not! I wish I’d bought a couple or three when they were cheap.

      • “Sad part was that I had heard back then that since Beetles were so common, they’d never be worth anything in value. Not! I wish I’d bought a couple or three when they were cheap.”

        Hi JumpR,
        I bought my ’65 Bug (which I still have) in 1986 for $150, it’s easily worth $20k with all the work I’ve done to it over the years.

        Any ’67 or older Bug or Bus is made of gold these days. If you want one for a relatively decent price, get a ’68 or newer, or Super Beetle!

  20. Having some weight 4-5 80lb sandbags on the rear tires and some good snow tires is key. When my daily driver was a 98′ Dakota 2WD 5 sp manual I passed many a grand Cherokee or merc M class off in a ditch to and from work. While Kentucky’s winters are fairly weak we get the occasional 8-10″ AWD & 4WD is nice in extreme conditions. A lot people who buy these options have no intention or ability of driving in more than a few inches of powder. Driving skills and a basic understanding of how different vehicles handle has been hobbled by thafe-deeeee! features

    I always thought of driving in snow like driving a motor boat. Take off slow, steering gets more unstable at high speeds, stopping takes a lot longer.

  21. Good tires are better than any tech. Real snow tires are soft rubber with slots cut into the tread. They’re actually not very good in the summer on dry pavement. I never had a problem getting around Colorado’s semi-cleared roads in a Grand Am GT thanks to the tires.

    You wear boots on snow days, not Florsheims (at least not without your rubbers), so why have “all season” tires?

    • Ready: I remember metal studs being put in tires when I was a kid. I believe you had to take them off by April here in Pennsylvania. Worked pretty good on our icy hills.

  22. Winter driving demands your attention, you will regret it if you don’t pay attention. If the roads are snow-covered with patches of ice and you are highway driving, you never use cruise control.

    If you come upon a patch of ice, you don’t use your brakes, you slow down to maintain control, take your foot off of the gas. There were some ten cars and pickups that were thrown in the ditch during a storm. White-outs will slow the lead vehicle, can’t even see the road, you have to even brake, you cannot see what is in front on you, then the chances are you drive into the ditch, then another car does too. Happens fast.

    Dry interstates with drifting snow can be a hazard. You’ll be driving what looks like good conditions, then all of a sudden, there’ll be a snow squall, difficult to see for a mile or two, have to slow down for your own good. It does and will happen.

    During the summer months, if you get hit by a rain storm and are highway driving, the rain can be monsoonal. You won’t be able to see through the sheets of rainfall, the heavy rainfall will slow you to a crawl. You might even have to come to a full stop, it can be that bad. “It’s raining like a cow ******* on a flat rock” is what they say in Iowa.

    Saw a trucker driving in the passing lane at about 65 mph on Friday. Moved a good two miles in that lane before turning left. The trucker wanted to occupy the lane for that length because he knows other vehicles are traveling 80 mph plus and will try to pass, drivers drive insane speeds and if you drive fast enough to be out of their way, it won’t hurt anybody.

    The trucker knew it would be hazardous if he didn’t occupy that lane for that distance, it was safe driving. Probably a farmer hauling grain to the elevator. Farmers get tired of people driving fifteen miles faster than the speed limit.

    On the way back, a few more miles up the same road, I came upon three deer attempting to cross the highway in front of my four wheeled mobility machine. I had to stop on the highway to avoid hitting the deer. To my right were another probably 14-18 more whitetail. The fourth deer in line just looked and didn’t move, the rest of the herd, the same. Three deer did make it across the southbound lanes, six vehicles were approaching the three deer moving into the lanes, they saw what was happening and avoided a collision, but it was close. The deer were headed for the corn field on the other side of the highway. You have to watch for deer basically all of the time, moose too, these days. It is definitely frontier out there in places out on the open road.

    You can’t be too careful when you are out on the road where there are always dangers happening right now.

    I didn’t want to drive 600 miles during winter, however, it was a necessity.

  23. How many SUVs, all front wheel drive and most all wheel drive, have i passed in the snow, sitting in a ditch, driving a rear wheel drive sports car for the previous 20+ years, as my daily driver? Lot’s of them. Is a Miata a well designed snow car? Hardly, but I have spent most of my driving life without all wheel drive, and without any tech assistance, and most of it in rear wheel drive cars and trucks as well. Nothing motivates one to succeed in driving on snow like trying to get home from a work site 80 miles away on a Friday in a two wheel drive pickup with 6-10 inches of snow on the road. The main obstacle being those who failed. An added detriment to acquiring such skill is the modern definition of acceptable snow removal, which is 100%. 40 years ago, the local highway department cleared enough to make them passable, and then went home. Cinders or sand on the curves, intersections, and hills. So, the modern “driver” insists that they be able to drive just like they do on wet pavement, at all times.

  24. And, let’s not forget automatic transmissions. With a manual you can determine shift points, early, to prevent excess torque and power in slick conditions. Heck, there are times when starting from a stop in 2nd gear is the best option.

    BTW, having studded snow tires on my ’69 Bug meant I could go just about anywhere in that NEOhio snow belt. However, I don’t miss that weather a bit…the Bug on the other hand…

    • Hi Mark,

      A ’74 Beetle was my daily driver for a number of years after college, in the early ’90s. That car got me to work in DC even in blizzard conditions. It was sometimes hard to see – because it was hard to drive and wipe the inside of the windshield with the old rag I kept for the purpose. But it was never a problem keeping that rig going!

      • Hi Eric,
        I had a ‘70 Beetle for a couple years back then, was a fun drive but was tough in the winter. Never got much heat and like you said I needed an ice scraper to clean the INSIDE of the windshield. 😆

        • I can relate. I loved my ’67 Beetle. Virtually unstoppable in snow.

          As a teenage fan of the Rockford Files TV show, I frequently practiced the art of reverse-180’s on Michigan snow days. (I hate to imagine what AGWs would do to someone trying such antics today…)

    • A common misperception, especially as regards manuals, is that downshift engine braking is a preferred means of deceleration on snow. Front wheel drive, and you lose steering. Rear wheel drive, and you lose control, with the rear end going where it pleases. AWD or 4WD and you risk locking up all four wheels. I actually know a gal who insists on having a manual transmission for this very purpose. I stopped riding with her 40 years ago, on dry pavement. Too scary.

    • Years ago, I had an 88 Mustang GT, 5spd. (wish I still had it!) Anyway, my trick during a snow event was to let about half the air outta the tires, and start from a stop in *3rd* gear. Worst vehicle I have ever driven in the snow was my 98 Ford Econoline! That thing was an absolute deathtrap in any snow! Even w/brand new tires!

      Tires are what make the difference. AWD/4WD can overcome some of the tire wear, but nothing replaces good tires.

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