Winter Driving Tip – Go Backwards With Front Wheel Drive

Winter driving can be challenging enough without having someone tell you to drive in reverse, but that’s exactly what I’m going to recommend for rare situations when driving forwards with front wheel drive just doesn’t cut it.

Admittedly, the idea of driving backwards is a bit odd, but in special circumstances it works better with a front wheel drive vehicle than going forward. The special circumstances are deep snow and going uphill.

For those of us who live with a steep and long driveway, it can be challenging to make it uphill in deep snow, even with front wheel drive. Going backwards with a front wheel drive vehicle can help overcome the difficulty. Here’s why:

  • Your drive wheels are lower, so gravity shifts more weight on them for better traction.
  • You have to drive more slowly to maintain control of direction, and that tends to promote traction instead of wheel spinning.
  • The front wheels of the car are now on compacted snow (thanks to the rear wheels) instead of loose snow, so that provides added traction.
  • If you sense you’re going to get “high centered” in deep snow, you can stop and pull forward (downhill) because your drive wheels aren’t in the deep snow yet, so they’ll have better traction. Also, the weight of the engine and gravity are all in your favor.

So, when winter driving throws a challenge at you like driving up an incline in deep snow, you might get yourself through it by going backwards with your front wheel drive vehicle.

Don’t try this except in situations where your path of travel is relatively straight, there isn’t any traffic to deal with, and there isn’t a ditch or embankment nearby that presents a hazard should you veer off course a bit while trying to drive in a direction that you may not be accustomed to.

Elida Schollmeyer

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