By on November 14, 2018

1994 Audi 90S in California Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Wintery weather gripped many parts of North America over the past week, as the snowman arrived earlier than expected. Seeing all the accompanying gross photos got me thinking about driving in winter, which is of course where we all shine … and everyone else is awful.

Except for when we’re actually awful ourselves. Let’s talk about winter weather driving experiences.

This post builds upon the Question of the Day from last week, where we discussed the closest calls we’ve had in general driving situations. With this winter weather conversation, go ahead and share the close calls and the times you actually hit something. I’ll go first.

Image: 1993 Audi 90SIt was Christmas break in 2006, and your author was having some Audi time. A 1993 Audi 90S to be more precise; the one pictured above. The weather before the day of the incident was very snowy (for southeast Indiana), with accumulations of probably six inches. It was all cleared off by the next day, the day I drove my brother, sister, and a friend over to Kentucky for a movie or some other activity. The roads were dry by the sunny mid-afternoon journey from Indiana, around I-275 by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport. Or at least they were mostly dry.

Rounding a sweeping bend in the left lane, the speed of the 90S was two digits that started with an 8. Ahead in my lane and closing in fast was what looked like a wet spot. Except as I got closer, it was a bit more than that. The sun made it so it was very hard to make it out until I was right on top of it — and by then it was really too late. Some words were expressed fairly calmly from my mouth: “Hang on, because we’re going to crash.”

The front tire or tires hit the black ice and slid, catching on the dry pavement at the other side. The wheels were turned slightly to the right because of the curve of the road, and when grip returned the car jerked violently in that direction. We started to spin. Foot hard down on the pedal, ABS saved me from a big skid. Turning the wheel to try and stay in control (which didn’t work), around we went. The front driver’s side fender of the Audi made an awful crunch against the hard ice and snow piled up against the inside shoulder. As we slowed and came to a stop after a 360 degree revolution, we ended up facing the correct direction, resting in the left lane. To use a Twitter word, I was shook.

Other traffic had come to a halt behind us as they saw the spin, and luckily nobody was very close when it happened. Heart racing, I drove very cautiously in any lane but the left one to our destination. No one spoke for the rest of the journey. After parking, I was relieved to check the Audi’s fender and find it had snow stuck to it, but no other damage. That day was a serious lesson about what black ice can do to seemingly clear roads.

Have a better tale? Let’s hear it.

[Images: Murilee Martin/TTAC, Corey Lewis]

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48 Comments on “QOTD: Found Yourself in a Slippery Situation?...”


  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Back in college, I lived in the “student ghetto” of Kalamazoo. There was a very steep hill from the old campus that led to this motley collection of older homes. Or you could take the flat route, which was a little longer but safer in bad weather.

    I’m heading back to my apartment after a snowstorm blanketed the area. For whatever stupid reason, I took my little 1984 Nissan truck through the “shortcut” which led down this steep hill. I notice cars turning around and a groups of people standing on the side of the hill, watching as cars slide down.

    What do I do? Derp – I’m a young 19yo filled with too much stupidity. Instead of turning around and sliding back the other way toward flatter ground, I took the hill, thinking my brakes are good enough for what’s coming – ice. Like an out of control sled, I went all the way down, hitting the metal guardrail at the T intersection with a loud smack. A group of my fellow college were down there, where they pushed me out of the way, waiting for the next fool to come down the hill.

    Crumpled fender and banged up right quarter panel.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Corey a person on my block has that exact looking Audi 90 in white and those alloy wheels in their driveway, in seemingly great cosmetic condition but covered in dirt/dust/algae, and a fairly current tag on the plate. My hands are practically itching to inquire about the car, and if nothing else give it a wash and wax.

    • 0 avatar

      I still think it’s a great looking car. Mine had the light cloth interior with black dashboard.

      Even back then though, the clearcoat was starting to go on the trunk and maybe on the roof. Love me some pearl white Audi.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        On the topic of fabulous looking white cars…

        kokomo.craigslist.org/cto/d/oldsmobile-98-regency/6725291579.html

        • 0 avatar

          Oh man, that’s legit.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Love that Olds!

          Here’s the one I’ve been drooling over lately. Just a little tear in the driver seat, otherwise, looking great. Also, it’s not far from me.

          https://mobile.craigslist.org/cto/d/1983-oldsmobile-ninety-eight/6726889466.html

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Nice find John. A bit more demure with that grey-on-grey, at least there’s that white top to brighten things up. But I gotta say it’s tough to beat that deep burgundy puckered leather interior on the white one. Like the interior of a club where people smoke cigars.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Yeah but I must admit, I prefer the grey cloth. I’m like a Japanese executive, leather is too noisy haha.

            Nahh, I do like leather in some cars, but GM red interiors always smell like Crayons to me. Same with blue.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Couple of other fun older GM finds locally:

            SUPER clean A-body coupe:
            indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/d/1989-buick-century-custom/6738093126.html

            Well preserved Lesabre that’d be a top winter-beater candidate if I was on the hunt again:
            bloomington.craigslist.org/cto/d/1987-buick-lesaber/6739422137.html

            Roll up windows on a Lesabre?!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Back before FWD,4WD and ABS I remember bouncing off other cars/trees/fences/telephone polls etc. on snow days regularly, but not seriously, those 5mph bumpers come in handy in the snow

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      And yet we continue to see videos of cars that must have abs, wheels locked up, sliding into each other and other things. Or have experienced it ourselves.

      There are situations where abs goes awol, and nobody seems interested in talking about it.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        ABS helps keep a car that’s braking maintain a stable trajectory, but in truly low traction situations it IMO does little to actually shorten stopping distance. The example I gave of our 4000lb 4wd MPV chattering its way down the hill is a prime example.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        It’s not that ABS goes “awol” – it’s that it can’t bend the laws of physics. If a road’s too icy, nothing works. But the good news is that if you kick in the ABS on ice, you’ll go head-first into whatever you’re colliding with, versus sideways.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Yes, there are times in a slide when the abs system operation is obvious, even if it is ineffective.

          There are other slides when you can’t hear the system operating and cannot detect that the wheels are locking and releasing.

          If I could speculate why this might be so…

          If you are at a standstill in normal driving, why doesn’t the abs system determine the wheels are not turning, therefore the car must be sliding with the wheels locked up, and therefore release the brakes?

          Obviously the reason is that you don’t want that to happen.

          So how does an abs system tell the difference between being at a stop and being in a slide with all wheels locked up?

          Maybe it could use a decelaration sensor. But a very slippery surface would result in almost no deceleration force.

          Maybe abs activation depends on at least one wheel rotating at any given moment.

          And how does abs know when to deactivate?

          • 0 avatar
            millmech

            Early ABS on small Ford trucks only operated on the rear wheels. What you describe is just what happened. With truck in gear [automatic] & truck stopped, ABS would sense that brakes were on + rear wheels were not turning. ABS solution: release the rear brakes. On slick surfaces it was enough to get the truck moving, no matter how hard the brake pedal was pushed. Dunno what the fix was.

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit-Iron

            On a perfectly flat, straight stretch of road going extremely slow I couldn’t get the car to stop because ABS wouldn’t disengage. It wasn’t that cold so I think a little skid would have been enough to melt the slush enough to stop. It was very unnerving. Car was a late-aughts Toyota.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’ve lived around the Great Lakes most of my life, so I have too many to relate here. My favorite though, is from when I had my 5.0L Mercury Capri. I’d just bought the car in September and like this year there was an early snowfall in October. My wife had taken the car to her job (which was 1.5 miles away, she was to go shopping after) but we got a solid 4 to 6 inches during the day. I got home from work after a harrowing commute (no salt yet) and received a very angry phone message that the car was stuck and she couldn’t get it out of the parking spot.

    The snow was heavy & wet and the Goodyear Gatorbacks were virtually useless in the stuff. All the tires did was to float on the surface of the snow, there was no traction to be had. I had to take my car to her and walk back home so she could get to the grocery store. Amusingly, my Dodge Lancer ES turbo had Goodyear Eagles on it, but I think due to the weight bias of the FWD system, it had very few problems getting traction…

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    My DD for several years in Boston was a 95 impala ss with the oem tires. Sometimes the rear would get twitchy but I would back off the gas and it would settle down. I managed to only get stuck once, on an unplowed hill.

    • 0 avatar
      jh26036

      Also a Boston resident. Greater Boston for the most part does a nice job cleaning up the roads after a storm but winter tires is still massive improvement over all-seasons.

      Depending on your car, buying a used set of winter tires is a much better proposition. There are so many sets out there with a single season and sell for 25-50% of its original cost. Usually after I wear out a set of used winter tires, I’ll just sell the wheels for dirt and the net cost of me running a set of winter tires might only be $200-300. Rinse repeat.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I grew up on a street that had a fairly steep hill that T-d out with a stop sign to a busier road. My dad never spent a dime he didn’t absolutely have to, one of those things were tires. NY had state inspections that mandated some kind of minimum tread depth, but that only gets you so far. I distinctly remember getting out to push our Honda Civic up the hill when I was in elementary school, my dad would put my brother behind the wheel and then help me push. Conversely, coming down the hill, I remember my dad smacked our MPV pretty good against the curb (better that than sliding into traffic), enough to bend a control arm or something where it was difficult to ever get a good alignment on that corner. We ended up buying a fancy 4WD version of that ’89 MPV a few years later, a final-year AllSport. Raised white letter tires, macho fender flares, center locking diff, ABS, the works. Well that heavy thing would just hurtle down the hill, ABS hopelessly chattering away. We finally convinced our parents to invest in a set of snow tires mounted on separate wheels and that 4WD MPV was transformed. It’d cruise up the hill without even engaging 4WD, and brake confidently. We then put snow tires on their Fit as well. A total revelation for me and my brother, and you’d think my dad too. But when he bought my mom a nice lightly used RX350 a few years later and winter rolled around, he put his foot down and said it’d be fine without snow tires. Before another curb-smacking incident occurred, I bought my mom a set of snow tires on separate alloy wheels and TPMS sensors for Christmas. It was something like $1200 for everything and a TPMS scanning tool, but I lived at home that one year after just starting to work, so I thought of it as putting some money into the household expenses.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      My old man has never used winter tires either, even when he lived a mile off from the nearest plowed road. He is flabbergasted that I drive a Mustang (or any RWD car) in winter. When I try to explain how much better the steering, traction, and braking is with winter tires, he gives me the “but I have AWD” line.

      Amazing how so many people can spend a small fortune on a car but not $1k for tires that can be used for a few seasons, also reducing wear ‘n’ tear on your “all season” tread.

      After seeing the transformation a set of Blizzaks did on my RWD BMW 325i and even my 4WD Toyota T100, I’ll never run without them again.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Yep I have dedicated snow tires on my 4Runner, and just put some on my A4 Quattro. And this is despite moving to flat central Indiana. I’m a true believer. I did just manage on Michelin LTX-MS2 all seasons on the Honda Pilot I had last winter, it did well enough, but I was not much of a fan of Honda’s implementation of AWD on that vehicle, felt kind of reactive and unpredictable.

  • avatar
    raph

    My most fun moment in inclement weather involved rain turned to snow. A buddy and I hit up a Chinese buffet up the road from where we worked and in the process of stuffing and running our mouths the rain turned to sleet then turned to snow. a bit of an oddity in south eastern Virginia where rain usually stays rain or if it snows it just melts. In any event my commute at the time was about 25 miles and after the snow started to stick we called it quits and headed our separate ways.

    At the time I had my 2009 GT500 equipped with summer tires (Nitto NT555’s since BFGoodrich & Michelin had abandoned the rear summer tire size and I was feeling particularly cheap. Later Michelin would later release the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ which is all-season and actually handled better than the Nitto summer tires, but too bad for me).

    In any event due to the tires on my car I decided to take the road less traveled which went mostly without incident until I reached one Cook Road near the battlefields in Yorktown VA on my way to Glouscter. It was there the tires had issue with the snow even at a snails pace. The car with no apparent provocation immediately darted into the oncoming lane and the ditch – I can only guess there was some slurry underneath the snow and giving up what little traction the car had it decided to go full C&C crowd control into the left lane.

    Luckily there was no oncoming traffic and I managed to keep the car from going into the ditch with only a code brown as a result.

    Making it back out onto 17 north I made it over the Coleman Bridge with no incident and down 17 again until I reached another side road and hit traffic and thats where the summer tires really lost it. Sitting in traffic they packed with snow and when it came time to move the car walked sideways until I could steer the car straight.

    The manuever itself wasnt that big a deal but I could only hazard a guess as to what everybody elese was thinking which was probably look at this asshole in a loud Mustang ( full exhaust sans cats and only a pair of resonators for mufflers) acting like a jackass in the snow living up to the sterotype.

    Fun times! Luckily no more freak rain/snow for the next coupla years and due to the rising cost of gas and not wanting to trade my GT500 in on more sensible transportation I moved to a neighborhood about 5 miles from work.

    When it came time to replace the Nittos I opted for the Michelins not only for the better cold weather capability (still not great in the snow obviously) but they handled better than the Nittos all the same so the short commute and the few times it did snow didnt yield anymore Cook Road excitement.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Hey I had a ’95 90q 5spd. Ironically, I posted earlier this week that it was the bests winter car I’ve ever owned including AWD G35x, rwd e36/e46s on winter tires, and SUVs.Fortunately no real close calls though. I think the lower center of gravity in a car makes for more secure ,planted feel on highways .
    The hvac was astounding , it was able to blow torrents of warm air only a few minutes of start up and the likely massive heater core would allow it to have warm air after being parked outside in the freezing for several hours .It was my 1st car with heated seats.
    My 90q was pretty bulletproof, I think it only had a small oil cooler leak as out of maintenance repair, still had a strong clutch at 165k miles when I sold it.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    The 2006-14 Suzuki Grand Vitara is full-time awd, with rear wheel bias and a perfect weight distribution. Most of them have a low range and lockable centre differential.

    We drove BC’s Coquihalla Highway, aka “Highway Thru Hell” of tv fame, many times in winter. A couple of times were at night, during heavy snowfall.

    What happened then is that people slow down and stay out of the fast lane. So there were nice wide tire ruts in the slow lane, but the hammer lane had snow up to, say, a foot deep but variable density and tracks where an occasional driver ventured into it.

    The convoys of cars and semis trundled along in the slow lane at 50kph, and I got very impatient going at the speed of the slowest drivers with the vehicles least suited for those conditions.

    So we drove at 80kph, carefully diagonalling in and out of the slow lane as spaces between the convoys allowed. The Grand Vitara would gently lose directional stability crossing the ruts, but it was completely natural to correct or even just drive along at an angle. Ho hum, as if one drove in this stuff every day. While plowing along through untracked deep snow it was as if the road was bare.

    Only two cars passed us during a couple of hours of such driving. A Nissan Murano and an Audi Quattro wagon.

    No mishap to report. The Grand Vitara is still in the family, two friends bought them on the basis of seeing ours perform, it is amazingly reliable, and was a grossly underappreciated vehicle. Journalists complained about the tailgate being hinged on the wrong side, but ignored the weight distribution.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Most of them have a low range and lockable centre differential”

      FWIW, at least in the US, after the first few years of production, the equipment/options were simplified to the point that only the top trim Limited(?) got the selectable low-range t-case, most got a generic single-speed unit with the option to lock the center diff, and a block-off plastic trim piece for the spot in the dash where the selector was located.

      But I agree in that they were quite underappreciated rigs, much more popular elsewhere in the world where their offroad chops are better appreciated.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        In Canada the first model year, 2006, only the top line model plus leather-seats (JLX-L) had the low range. I know because we had to buy the most expensive one that year to get the low range.

        As the model years went by the low range came standard on cheaper models, eventually on all but the very cheapest one.

        In 2009 they deleted the limited slip feature of the center differential in favor of full reliance on the traction control system.

        In the US, a rear wheel drive setup was available, but I don’t think it was ever sold in Canada.

        For most situations missing the low range was not a big deal. The standard full-time high range awd provided the best traction for climbing on snow.

        The low range helped with speed control for rock crawling. But where the low range really shone was “walking” down steep slippery descents with all wheels turning at the same rate and using engine braking instead of the clumsiness of using the brakes.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Black ice is a scourge here in Colorado, and it typically shows up in any spot where you don’t get direct sunlight. Even if the temperature goes above freezing, if a patch of road doesn’t get sunlight, it ends up with an ice patch on it.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Any Pittsburgh guys here? How the hell do you people drive there in the winter?

  • avatar
    bobmaxed

    Oh geez having been raised in Wisconsin I’ve had at least one cringe worthy winter story for each of my 50 years of driving. Well here’s my first and latest. 1973 Had my first car that my parents allowed me to drive up to school in northern WI. A 67 Corvair. Driving back to school after a holiday with a car full of friends we came upon some icy interstate roads. First trip off road was down a shallow ditch. But with 4 people pushing we managed to get back on the road. Not soon after that we again start to slide. Having three bodies in the back seat didn’t help weight imbalance of a rear engine car. But this time we did a couple of 360’s on the road and kept on going with a bad case of giggles.
    2015 2002 Miata. I drove this car two winters w/snow tires in Northern Indiana. Had finally bought new wheels and my first set of summer tires. I was really getting antsy to put the summer tires on the car finally figured it was safe on the 2nd week of April. My daily commute was to drive my license revoked son to work(18 miles) than head off to my job(18 miles in the opposite direction. April 15th it got below freezing and snowed a little. I got my son to work on time and the roads were clear. But on the way back I saw a naked bridge ahead of my that had a solid white surface. I banged a few curbs hard enough to ruin my new wheels and then down a shallow bank till my slow progress was stopped by a small tree. I was fine but by the time a ham fisted tow truck driver dragged my car back to the road the Miata was totaled.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    January 1984. I flew from Florida to Baltimore to do some environmental work. Just as I was flying in, the city was suffering from a combination snow/ice storm and by the time I picked up my rental Caprice wagon, the city was being shut down. I had never driven in snow or ice before but something told me not to do anything sudden while driving. That seemed to help. Fortunately the traffic was very light for a weekday and I made it to the jobsite in one piece.

    Now here comes the odd part. I was driving the wagon slowly across a grassed open field covered with snow and ice. The field had a very slight side slope. I lost traction and the car stopped forward motion and began to slip sideways. Steering, brakes, and accelerator were useless as I slid along at an almost imperceptible rate. There was nothing to do but to ride it out and hope for the best. After a couple of minutes, I came to a halt gently against a tree. I got traction again. Not so much as a scratch on the car.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      I had a similar ’79 Impala wagon. One time the highway traffic came to a stop due to slippery snow. The car started slowly sliding off the crown of the road. It was ok while moving though. I speculate the vibration of the idling engine broke traction. Normally tires are warm enough to melt into the snow/ice a bit if you’re not moving and so keep the car in place. But the idling engine might prevent embedding the tires.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Driving during the winter in Florida is very difficult… I have to weave around all the snowbirds from NY and Canada that hog up the left lane with their blinker on.

    I was once in Long Island (work related, rental car who cares) during an ice storm and the worse part was the plowed snow from an earlier storm. Every intersection was blind due the piles and there was no way for any traffic to stop quickly on that frozen slush. So I just moved forward as slowly as possible and prayed. I really don’t see how people manage to put up with that kind of nonsense for 3 or 4 months out of the year.

  • avatar
    James2

    In Hawaii there’s really no such thing as “winter” even if might snow once in a while atop our tallest mountains. Anyway, one year we were driving up Haleakala, Maui’s tallest, in my grandma’s POS Geo Metro. I’m actually surprised the gutless thing can make it up 10,000 feet despite the whiniest motor I’ve ever had the misfortune to rev. As we get closer to the top (I’m driving) the thing starts sliding around –it’s the skinny tires having no grip despite a full load of people and I’m doing only 5-10 mph. Going down was even scarier.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    Having grown up in the Snow Belt prior to the advent of good traction control, I have many stories. Here are just two of my favorite weather-related incidents:

    1. Early-90’s Ford F-150, delivering pizza for Domino’s on a rural dirt road in Michigan. Light snow storm, but snowfall from prior days had been compressed by traffic – that is the key part of this story: while the road felt fine to my inexperienced young 20-something hands on the wheel, the reality was that the hardpack underneath the light dusting of snow meant that I was barreling down the road with no way to make the 90-degree right-hander up ahead. The truck had rear ABS, but all that did was help me keep the back pointed in the right direction while I locked up the fronts and slid straight off the road through the corner, completely flattening the 2-post “–>” sign, and on into the ditch. I had the presence of mind to keep momentum, and I drove the truck sideways and right back onto the road. Minor dent in the RH quarterpanel, which I did not mention back at the store. Weird tangent to this story: unbeknownst to me at the time, my totally cool, laid-back store manager at the time was robbing houses at night with an accomplice and is now in prison for murdering the woman who discovered them in her house!

    2. 1989 BMW E30 325i 5-speed, in HEAVY snowfall. Rural, straight and wide two-lane blacktop road with gravel shoulder on both sides. The snow was that beautiful, predictable powder, so evenly distributed that is actually fun to drive through. There was no one on the road (it was late at night), so I thought it would be fun to deliberately see if I could test the top speed limiter in 5th gear via wheelspin. It did not seem as stupid at the time as it does while writing this story now, LOL. So, I ran up through the gears, enjoying the wheelspin up to 5th gear. The issue is that the road was crowned to ensure water runoff, and even with an LSD the 325i would still be producing slightly more torque on the right rear wheel than the left. That, combined with the crowning of the road resulted in a lurid oversteer slide up to the crown of the road at maybe 60 MPH (but indicating 120), then an EVEN BIGGER lurid slide snapping back in the other direction towards the right shoulder, followed by lift+overcorrection/snap oversteer back towards the center of the road again – only by now I was sideways with the rear of the car hanging off the shoulder. It was at this time that the right rear corner of the car obliterated the beautiful handmade, wooden swan-shaped mailbox of a nice man who lived on that road. That mailbox probably saved my life because it helped rotate the car back in the right direction and I regained control. BTW, how do I know that the man with the mailbox was nice? Because the next day he called me to tell me that he had my license plate (police gave him the number), which I had lost in the collision with his mailbox and could not find on the road in the snow. He refused to let me pay for his mailbox, saying that it gave him a chance to build a new one.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Having driven in Ontario winters for well over 40 years in vehicles ranging from an air-cooled ’62 Beetle, to C4 Corvette, to fullsized ‘disco’ style van, to v8 PLCs, etc, and not having used winter tires until my children started driving, I am not going to tempt fate and recount the many perilous episodes and events encountered. As per the name of the Paul Newman movie, ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’.

  • avatar

    This happened last year on my way into work. There had been some spotty presip which froze to whatever road surface it fell upon. I felt “comfortable” at 6 am driving around 35 mph. I checked the surface I was on and it was slippery but doable with plenty of space and careful braking (98 Stratus no ABS) if necessary. Came up on a motorist driving 20/25 mph. Looked ahead and no oncoming for at least a mile that I could see. I judged that with smooth, easy moves I could pass without issue. Carefully pulled out and began going around the car. All of the sudden oncoming popped up over a small rise 1/2 mile ahead. Dang, I thought. Just have to slow and get back in behind the slower car I was passing. Should be no worries. And it wouldn’t have been except that the car I was going to pass all of the sudden applies it’s brakes complicating my situation immensely. No way I could brake enough to slip back in without sliding who knows where (deeps ditches at this point and oncoming getting closer), no way to speed up enough to complete the pass. Since my foot was already off the accelerator I thought to try lightly tapping/applying my brakes to slow enough to clear the rear of the car I was passing. When all was said and done I was able to avoid a head on with perhaps a 300 ft to spare. Dropped farther behind the slower vehicle and kept checking the surface. After about 3 or 5 more miles the surfaces were good for hard braking – (no ice). Another opening with no oncoming in sight. Checked the surface before making a move and it was good. Passed the slower vehicle and continued on my way. For the rest of the commute I checked the surface periodically. I find this to be vital when conditions are as inconsistent as that morning. Bottom line for me that day – should have waited a bit longer and made a safer pass.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I miss Jack Baruth, and I kinda feel like we’re being asked to create this site’s content now more so than in the past. *sigh*

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right there. The QOTD is a totally new thing which has not been happening five times a week for the past several years.

      PS. Comments are not content. We aren’t publishing your bad driving stories elsewhere. You’re not that interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        You’re certainly right that I’m not that interesting. I drive dull, practical cars, I work an Office Space style middle-management job, and try to take pleasure in the small things, all by choice. That being said, the constant need to create content and feed the internet maw is not one of the stressors in my life, and of that I am grateful.

        It’s not you, it’s me.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_Getting_Old

  • avatar
    ptschett

    Funniest incident for me:
    It’s the mid-afternoon of a late-winter day in the late-1990’s. I’m driving home from school to my parents’ house in my ’73 Mercury Cougar on slippery roads. They’re the first house on their road so I need to make a right then almost immediately a left into the driveway. I took the right too fast and the car understeered, crossing the road into the accumulation of snow trapped by the juniper bushes on my parents’ lawn to the left of the driveway. The only harm done was that the snow received a nearly perfect indentation in the shape of the car’s nose.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    My first winter as a driver was the winter of 1978, which saw quite bit of snow here in Dallas (the snowiest winter since was the winter of 2011, and many references were made then, comparing it to the winter of ’78).

    My rides were my ’75 Vega hatchback, and my mom’s brand new ’78 Malibu Classic, both RWD, and both automatics. I made it through that winter without any accidents, and taught myself about the technique of steering into a skid, and using opposite lock. I did figure out pretty quickly that you don’t manually downshift an RWD automatic to slow down when coming up to a light (in this case in the Malibu). I was lucky that this was on a Sunday morning (on my way to work), and there was no other traffic around, when the Malibu decided to try to swap ends – I managed to get it back (whew!).

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      You better brace yourself then for a very harsh winter in the Great American Southwest (and Dallas) because the global-warming weenies have predicted such, in spite of the NWS predicting an El Nino weather pattern for this winter.

      Remember this summer when the green freaks predicted an extraordinary hurricane season? WTF happened to that prediction?

      For the past 4.5 BILLION years the weather on this planet has been erratic and unpredictable, fluctuating in cycles between ice-ages every 11 million years or so.

      Yet, somehow, these eco-friendly scientists with an agenda all their own have found the magic fickle finger of fate that blames humanity for climate change.

      What a crock!

      Remember global cooling? Brrrrrrrrrrr. Seed the poles with coal dust to trap the heat.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Too many to list.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Just catching up with this article about two weeks late.

    I’m glad to see a couple sensible folks describe black ice in a sensible way- @FreedMike said something about stretches of road that never get direct sunlight, Corey’s story in the article is based on being surprised by it but the context is him accepting fault for misjudging the conditions.

    It’s probably human nature to blame “black ice” to justify one’s own mistakes. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people blame it, almost as if one moment the roads and weather were perfect and the next moment this supposedly invisible black ice, a seemingly sentient and evil force of mother nature, tricked an otherwise safe, responsible, above-average driver into losing control!

    It just doesn’t work that way…

    If you pay close attention in the cold weather then you learn to judge the spots that tend to ice up; if you closely look at those spots as you approach them then road surface looks subtly but noticeably different. It helps a lot if you manage the car’s energy and traction against things like the crown of the road, the bank of a bend in the road, uphill/downhill, and most important- other vehicles and pedestrians (if you’re in the city).

    Judgment comes from experience and experience usually comes from mistakes. Corey et al, after reading the article and responses, if we knew each other in real life then it’s a good bet that I’d trust you to borrow my vehicles in any kind of weather.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This article makes me miss my Audi :(


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