Tips for driving an automatic in the snow?
I have been driving for only 2 years and had my first "slip" in feb. when my car skidded into the ditch. Since its christmas,and the weather is shocking i hav no choice but to drive in the snow.
I wouldnt have been at all concerned, except we got a brand new car 4 weeks ago and i havnt driven it in as bad weather as this yet.
Im keeping my fingers crossed that someone will give me a few tips other than driving slow and not braking/breaking very gently?
As Im in an automatic please bear this in mind (no clutch to help me!).
It is not just a matter of driving slowly and not braking, it is a matter of doing everything smoothly. Steering, acclerating and decelerating/stopping, should all be very smooth. If you have a 'real' automatic gearbox, then decelerating can have a similar effect to declutching, but if you have an electrically controlled manual gearbox, you have permanent drive, and will have to 'feel' the grip between driven wheels and road surface. When not carrying passengers, sometimes it can be useful to carry a bit of weight on passenger seats. Bags of cement used to be recommended, and on a front wheel drive car, putting them carefully on wings/bonnet can help aid traction should you become stuck, as can old sacking or blankets.
There is really not a lot to say, encourage or force the automatic gear box to stay in high ratios, drive gently, remember you are effectively driving without brakes therefore you are only able to coast to a stop (not quite true but think that way). This translates to keeping well back from any vehicle you are following, say 4 or 5 times normal; anticipate when stops are coming up. Find out if you can get the transmission into neutral whilst moving, this may help if you are sliding. On your way, where it is safe to do so, gently induce some skidding under braking and acceleration (leaving a roundabout, pulling away from junction, lights etc) to update yourself on road conditions. Finally find a big open space and practice/play to begin to understand your vehicles behaviour in snow and ice.
I drive an automatic truck (boss bought it cause it was cheap) it not a great thing in snow . No engine breaking every time you take foot of accelertor it wants to keep going . I use the gears on it select 1st or 2nd or 3rd rather than been in D to try and control the speed of it and try to stop it constantly changing up when i dont want it to . I find if I leave it in D then I have to brake alot harder to try and slow it down but selecting the gears and planning ahead helps me keep alot more control . Just try and plan a wee bit further in advance keeping the brakeing to gentle and dont be shy to select a gear yourself in the box .
Im pretty sure its fully automatic ( 09 fiesta) but unlike my old car it dosnt have the option of 1st and 2ed gear , rather there is a "semi automatic " section were i can tap up and down the gears.
Its been so long since i was behind the wheel of a manual and im not sure of the protocol of gear changes while driving in the slip!
Should i just stick with what i know and drive with extreme caution in auto or should i chance the "gear" option? Bear in mind that i have to leave the house by 11am to start the christmas grocery shopping , otherwise we will have nothing to eat on friday at all.
Home safe! sort off.
Well I did it!
Got all the groceries got in 2 trips out without much bother.Was a bit touch and go driving home ( back of beyond and half way up a mountain ) felt like it would be a good idea to get a wee bit of speed up and use the momentum to get me up the hills and it worked.
We got home safely, that was until my mum got out of the car and fell on the ice going in through the gate! Typical!
Well I will keep a watch on this thread to see if anybody has anymore tips for me , and I hope you all have a merry christmas and a happy new year.
Cheers and Safe driving!