Don’t end up on your R’s in the snow! Get an R32....

March 2, 2018

Is it only me, or has the standard of driving in the snow deteriorated over the last 30 years? I have spent the last three days watching drivers struggling in all sorts of  modern car with a variety of traction control devices and ABS. In the snow any decent driver should be able to out perform these driver aids.

 

One example was outside my house on packed ice which resembled glass.  One is always loathed  to offer help as it is usually seen as interfering.  The advice this time was gratefully received as he was now able to slither on his way. I could see him struggling and every time he tried to apply any throttle the power was immediately shut off to the rear wheels of his Mercedes. The traction control simply could not cope with this super slippery surface. I told him to turn the system off which allowed him to apply power to the driven wheels the old fashioned way with his right foot. These drivers aids are great in the wet and normal conditions but really do need turning off in the ice and snow.

 

It was amazing how many rear wheel drive cars that were obviously automatic  I saw being propelled along by the driven rear wheels whilst the front wheels were locked up and acting as two skis.

 

I used our brilliant R32 Golf with its superb Haldex 4X4 system in the snow which proved unstoppable.  However, the ABS really was best turned off. The hard low profile 18“ tyres meant that touching the brake pedal on the ice caused the ABS to go in to some kind of fit and the pedal pulsate wildly under my foot. Good old cadence braking worked far better. I was shocked to be told by a new driver that he had never been taught or even heard of this technique.  

My 70 year old Mum made me proud as she hurtled around Tunbridge Wells out performing drivers  half her age due to her old school understanding of driving in the snow.  Her tyres let down to 15 PSI and all modern aids turned off.

 

Surely part of learner driver training should be preparing them properly for these sorts of conditions? 

 

Whenever we see snow it always start the same fun conversation at Classic Heroes.  What classic 4x4 would you own?   

I chose the Porsche 959 and the rather more usable BMW E30 325IX. Simon felt that nothing beat the Quattro for 4x4 coolness. The list of suggestions continued during the day with VW Golf Rallye, Ford RS200, Metro 6RF to name but a few.

 

What would be your choice?

 

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