14. Winter Driving - 4WD Doesn't Help Over 15mph

This week's techbit isn't about Jaguars, but I almost got nailed by some idiot in an SUV when it snowed last week, and I'm steamed. Last Tuesday, as I drove the 2 miles to go vote, I saw three SUVs rolled over on the side of the road (due to an early winter snow). And this was in a residential area! Four wheel drive is neat, but when the roads are covered with ice, it doesn't keep you from skidding, it doesn't make you stop faster, and it doesnt make your car handle better. My personal observations over the last few years is that approximately 70% of all ice-related accidents involved 4WD vehicles; a percentage far in excess of their proportion in traffic. Why? Driver attitude. People think that 4WD makes their vehicle behave like it's on dry pavement. WRONG!

When I was in the military, part of my job was to provide instruction in 4WD and off-road driving. It was amazing how much 4WD lunacy I had to overcome in these classes. The big lesson most people had to learn was: when you're driving (crawling, really) on ice, 4WD is great stuff. But once you get above 15 mph or so, your 4WD benefit almost completely disappears. My students (mostly young males) had a great deal of difficulty accepting this, preferring to believe the off-road magazine propaganda instead.

This weeks techbit: PLEASE BE CAREFUL! And if you don't drive a 4WD vehicle: WATCH OUT for those who do!

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