Winter Driving Tips
Four-wheel drive doesn't repeal the laws of physics. However, many of us are guilty of driving around in snowy and/or icy conditions without using the proper care. Our Jeeps are ideally suited to driving in the winter and with four-wheel drive, aggressive tires, straps, and other equipment on board, we are set for those harsh conditions.
The problem arises when we let that knowledge go to our heads and forget some simple winter driving tips. Face it, while our Jeeps are ideally suited to go in the snow, they aren't really good at stopping in the slop.
Many of the aggressive tires on our Jeeps don't have siping. Most of us don't have ABS simply because we don't trust it to stop us on the trail. The Jeep, by nature, has a short wheelbase and a high center of gravity. All of these things conspire to make it more difficult to do certain things in the snow.
While we are able to holeshot it out of a stoplight and leave those silly front-wheel-drive cars eating our slush, when it comes time to stopping at the next light, we're beat.
Generally, the key to winter driving is to do it smoothly, without any abrupt motions. It will be different wherever you go, and practice is the best thing you can do. That said, here are some more specific tips for going and whoa-ing in the snow that you can practice in a deserted mall parking lot near you.
Get ready for it
* Narrow tires are the king of the road in the winter, up until the snow gets to your axles. At that point (and off-road), higher floatation tires are going to be your friends.* If you've got hubs, lock them in before venturing out, just in case.* When you see snow in the forecast, start telling yourself how four-wheel drive does nothing to help you stop. It's all driver skill and technique.* Cat litter and ashes help get you unstuck. Carry what you can fit.
How you go in the snow all depends on what kind of snow you're in and how deep it is. The shallower it is, the more forgiving it's going to be. If it's got a crust on it, tread very lightly with minimal abrupt movements to maximize your chances of staying up top. If it's really deep, the only way to keep going is to keep the engine near peak horsepower (about 3,000 rpm for the inline-six), but try to keep the wheel speed under control. Wheel speed that's too high will start freezing the snow in your tires, and wheel speed that's too slow will mean it won't clean out and you'll sink.