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(old yahoo article)

Deadly driver mistakes
Forbes.com - Hannah Elliott
The holiday cheer may be over and done with, but there's still plenty of winter left to go. Which means icy roads, reduced visibility and probably more than one near-miss. Or worse.

But there's no cause for concern if you have four-wheel drive, right? Wrong. That won't bail you out of a dangerous situation on a slick road. In fact, almost all of the worst hazards of winter driving have more to do with the driver than the car.

Ten Deadly Mistakes of Winter Driving
"If you get caught on an icy road, four wheels skid just as easily as two wheels," says David Salmon, the director of traffic services for the New York State Police. "A lot of people have a false sense of security when they're in a four-wheel drive vehicle in the winter."

A false sense of security, in any type of car, often leads to other mistakes during compromised road conditions. In other words, it's the simplest errors that create the most dangerous situations. And the most common and potentially most dangerous mistake of all, experts say, is driving too fast.

Geoff Sundstrom, an Orlando, Fla.-based spokesman for AAA, says one way to lessen the pressure to drive too fast is to anticipate impending road conditions, and, given those conditions, to allot extra time to reach a particular destination.

"If you have a cellphone and you can communicate with the family that you're driving to see and give them a reasonable ETA of when you're going to get there, that helps lessen that stress and that pressure," Sundstrom says. "The No. 1 issue that motorists contend with in bad weather is the failure to control their vehicle. And that primarily stems from driving too fast and [being] in a situation where they're suddenly braking, essentially losing control."

Difficult Conditions
A study from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health reports that poor weather is associated with 7,000 fatalities, 800,000 injuries and more than 1.5 million car crashes nationally each year, with an estimated economic toll of $42 billion.

Adverse weather is involved in nearly 20% of highway fatalities, according to the report. And the most dangerous day to drive is the day after the first winter storm of the year, when people are unprepared to avoid driving or don't adopt safer procedures as completely as they will later in the season.

In addition to driving too fast, many drivers follow other vehicles too closely for inclement weather conditions, says Ted Plank, the road supervisor for Colorado's Boulder County. A former snow-plow operator who has lived in Colorado for 45 years, Plank manages all maintenance and snow removal operations for 700 miles of county roads. He recommends using double the following distance under normal, dry conditions.

"Another thing along those lines is to allow at least 200 to 300 feet between you and snowplow equipment," Plank says. "Give them room to maneuver. It may be a little slower than you want to go, but it's always a good thing."

Slippery Situations
If you do start to slip, stay calm. Take your foot off the gas and brake gently. Most cars have anti-lock brake systems, so apply steady, constant pressure on the brakes and expect some bucking--that's normal. For vehicles without anti-lock brakes, remember the old adage about pumping your brakes.

"If you do start skidding in one direction or another, you need to turn your wheel gently in the direction you want your front end to go," Plank says. "It does seem like common sense, but it's amazing how many people, when they get in that situation, panic or freeze, and they slam on the brakes, which only makes the situation worse."

If the car starts to slide on a corner, smoothly accelerate to transfer the weight to the rear wheels, which lets you steer toward the skid and regain control. If the car uses rear-wheel drive, don't accelerate too quickly, or the tires may over-spin completely out of the turn.

Practicing in an empty parking lot will help the right reaction come more naturally when you hit ice or snow on the road. Specialized driving classes are another good investment. Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colo., for one, offers winter driving classes and personal coaching sessions. Half-day safety courses start at $270.

Know Before You Go
One way to prevent simple mistakes from causing major problems this winter is to get your car prepared--inside and out--before facing the elements. Even drivers who fastidiously maintain oil levels and monitor tire pressure should have a mechanic check battery strength, tire treads, antifreeze levels and belts to make sure the car can withstand another winter of wear and tear.

"In the long run, it's going to cost you more money if you don't have your vehicle maintained, because then you'll have in all probability parts that actually break or wear out, which could lead to even more expensive repairs and of course the possibility of an unsafe situation on the road," Sundstrom says.

Preparedness inside the car is important too. Carry warm clothing, blankets, flares, a flashlight, matches, traction devices, a spare tire, a first-aid kit, an ice scraper, nonperishable snacks, water, a shovel and a charged cellphone for extended trips. The extra weight may decrease fuel efficiency, but you'll be glad you have these things if you need them.

It all may seem simple, but safety measures work only if they're followed. They're "the things that kill people because they didn't pay attention," Salmon says.

Ten Deadly Mistakes of Winter Driving
 

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How good is the Acadia 2 wheel drive in snow and icy conditions?
Welcome to the forum.
Depends a lot on the driver's skills and condition of the vehicle. Frankly, I see no problem with it. Guess that comes with growing up in snow country and learning how to drive in it.
 

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Guess that comes with growing up in snow country and learning how to drive in it.
True. Someone who knows how to drive in snowy conditions can do better with 2 wheel drive (front or rear) than someone who doesn't know how can do with AWD/4WD.

I grew up and learned to drive in Michigan snow country.
 

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The best chance with icy roads are snow/ice tires. Even deep tread truck tires won't help with ice, so a "grippier" cold weather compound (or studs) are the only help. I'm a big proponent of winter tires for everything. I have winter wheels/tires for my Mustang (and sand bags), the AWD Acadia, my stepdaughter's Civic, and now my daughter's Dart. My garage looks like a tire shop. A two post lift would be awesome!
 

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The best chance with icy roads are snow/ice tires. Even deep tread truck tires won't help with ice, so a "grippier" cold weather compound (or studs) are the only help.
Often wished sawdust recaps were still made. Those were almost as good as studded tires for driving on icy roads. Only 'problem' with them was that the rubber was soft and they were good for just one season.
 

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I once in my younger days drove a 5.0 LX Mustang in the winter as it was my only car. I survived just fine. It was when I became a tractor trailer driver that I really learned about winter weather, following distance, speed and everything else under the sun. 4WD and AWD are not the end all be all for winter weather. Most of the crashes I see are SUVs and pick up trucks. I don't care what you are driving... if you think you can drive like it is sunny, clear and dry in winter weather or rain, then the potential bad consequences of your decisions will be yours and hopefully yours alone.

Last night on the road, I passed a brutal accident in the pouring rain on a known bad portion of the interstate. The speed limit drops 10 MPH because of the curves and close proximity of the exit ramps through this town. There are bright yellow with black lettered signs indicating the reduced speed and curves. Well, it didn't stop this Camaro driver as he bit it and rolled it. If he survived, it would be a miracle. The car was destroyed and there were multiple emergency vehicles on the scene.

All people need to do is slow down and pay attention in bad weather. So simple, but yet so difficult. In Missouri, you can count on about 800 traffic fatalities a year with about 60% not bothering to wear a seatbelt. This is according to MODOT highway statistics. In the 6+ years I have been here, that has been the posted average. It is a shame because the accidents are preventable.
 

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^^Update^^ to this accident I passed by on Friday night...

The driver of the Camaro didn't go off down the ditch as I suspected. Instead, he managed to cross the median into the opposite lanes of travel and hit a 2003 Chevy Blazer with 4 people in it. All 4 people were injured and sent to the hospital, 2 with moderate to severe injuries. Both vehicles appear to be totaled. The Camaro driver was not injured. It was not stated why the Camaro driver lost control of his car and caused the crash. My guess would be speed and/or lack of attention during inclement weather. Report made no mention of alcohol or drug use. Either way, completely preventable.
 

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I once in my younger days drove a 5.0 LX Mustang in the winter as it was my only car.
I'm doing that in my not so younger years. Snow mode makes the 435 hp even easier to manage since it remaps the throttle response with a slower ramp rate. Traction control and a stick are a bit more involved since it can eventually stall itself if you don't feather the clutch.

I just keep in mind that no matter how good of a driver I may think I am, physics always wins!
 

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I'm doing that in my not so younger years. Snow mode makes the 435 hp even easier to manage since it remaps the throttle response with a slower ramp rate. Traction control and a stick are a bit more involved since it can eventually stall itself if you don't feather the clutch.

I just keep in mind that no matter how good of a driver I may think I am, physics always wins!
No matter what you are driving, as long as you maintain good following distance and don't over drive the conditions, you should be fine. Now, it wasn't always fun when I was going back and forth to work in a V8 Mustang because it wasn't ideal in snow, but I survived by not being stupid. We can't control others, so you have to look out for yourself. Now a days, my coveted sports car sits in the garage collecting dust, my Impala sees daily driver duty regardless of weather, my wife drives the Acadia, so far only on nice days, and the Yukon is the unfair weather and back up choice. Ultimately if it is bad enough, besides work, if I don't need to, I won't go anywhere... sometimes it isn't worth it.
 

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... Ultimately if it is bad enough, besides work, if I don't need to, I won't go anywhere... sometimes it isn't worth it.
Many times, it's the "I can go anywhere" attitude of AWD (and 4WD) owners which gets them into troubles. I'm not an OTR trucker, but my jobs have required travel in some unusual conditions. Things I've seen have probably been as horrendous as what you've witnessed.
 
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