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Snow and stick shifts?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok, we're still moving into our new house and DH is at work. Its snowing we have a little over an inch and the only car I have is stick shift. I know how to drive it...have been driving it for a few weeks now but never in snow. I don't even like driving an automatic in snow but at least I know what to do...are there any tricks w/ stick shifts? I don't want to ask DH this because I will feel SO stupid, but I figure you guys won't laugh at me. I really need to get stuff moved since we both have to work all week. Any pointers?
post #2 of 13
Driving a stick shift in show is really no differnt than driving an automatic in snow. The only place that you may find yourself out of sorts is if you are stopped and on a slight incline and then have to try and go forward. Because as soon as you take your foot off of the brake to put it on the clutch you are going to start going forward or backward, and no amount of pressing the gas pedal is going to help until you have that clutch pressed and your car in gear When I first started to drive a standard I found that to be the most difficult part.

If you are really that unsure, perhaps it's better if you were honest with your SO and told him, and waited for when he had some time to go with you. That would be my advice rather than taking the chance and smacking up the car, or worse.
post #3 of 13
Do you have a rear wheel or front wheel drive stick shift? what kind of car do you have?

My standard BMW is HORRIBLE in the snow.

I always put it in second to go from a stop to a go in snowy conditions. It gives the car less torque and allows you to have a slower send off. I also drive in a gear up from where I normally would be if the roads were decent...IE

If i would normally be in 3rd. I drive in 4th, or 5th even in snowy conditions. you just have to feel the car out.

good luck!
post #4 of 13
Definitely stay away from icy hills if you think you might have to stop on it! They can roll back a bit! Other than that, they are better than automatic in snow - you have much better control of the vehicle and can use your gears to pull out of a slide or just plow through that deep snow that an automatic can't get through!
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yarra View Post
Do you have a rear wheel or front wheel drive stick shift? what kind of car do you have?

My standard BMW is HORRIBLE in the snow.

I always put it in second to go from a stop to a go in snowy conditions. It gives the car less torque and allows you to have a slower send off. I also drive in a gear up from where I normally would be if the roads were decent...IE

If i would normally be in 3rd. I drive in 4th, or 5th even in snowy conditions. you just have to feel the car out.

good luck!
It's a toyota corrola, and it is an easy stick to drive. I drove a stick shift for 4yrs but I lived in Guam, and we really didn't worry about snow there. Why did I move back? Does putting it in a higher gear help? Wouldn't allow the car to go faster? We also have studded tires on the car, so that should help, but the snow is also mixed w/ sleet so I am a little worried.
post #6 of 13
The car will go as fast as you want it too, no matter what gear it is in.

But if you are in a gear that is too high for the current speed, your car will not have the PULL and POWER that it would have normally. This is a good thing in snow.

Think about it, you are driving along behind someone going really slow on the highway, you want to pass them, but quickly, what do you do?

If you are in 5th, you drop it down to fourth, the engine roars a bit and you can accelerate REALLY fast, you have A LOT more power available to accelerate.

The opposite is true when you shift up too soon. You don't have a lot of power, and you loose the ability to accelerate quickly, VERY ideal for snow and ice.

Does this make sence??? It is really hard to type and get my point across.

Try going from a stop, in second instead of first. You might stall a couple times, but you wil see what I mean. Less power = Less chance to slip and slide

And yes, stay away from those hills. You have a front wheeled drive car, so you should be in WORLDS better of a situation that I am with my BMW. My car is old and ragged...but it has a lot of power and it's like a BOBSLED in the snow. I HAD to learn how to drive it in the snow.

post #7 of 13
IMO a stick-shift is miles ahead of an automatic in snow. I could get to places in my little Honda civic that my friend could only dream of in his Cougar.

Depending on your car, you may not be able to start out in 2nd gear without stalling. When I was a new driver with a stick-shift, one of the tricks I used on hills to avoid sliding back was to use the hand brake. I would leave it on until I had the clutch out about halfway and my foot on the gas and then release the handbrake. It worked really well on steep hills.

The main thing is not to panic and let the clutch out too quickly and stall or try to give too much gas which will cause you to sit and spin on ice and snow.
post #8 of 13
I actually think driving a stick shift in the snow is easier than driving an automatic in the snow---you can decelerate without hitting your breaks by gearing down. I have learned to do it in my stick shift without even sliding!!
post #9 of 13
I drove a stick shift for several years in snow I concur with everyone's suggestions. The only problem I would have once in a while is starting off from a stop sign or stop light but you have hardly any snow so that shouldn't be a problem. Have fun!!
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
IMO a stick-shift is miles ahead of an automatic in snow. I could get to places in my little Honda civic that my friend could only dream of in his Cougar.

Depending on your car, you may not be able to start out in 2nd gear without stalling. When I was a new driver with a stick-shift, one of the tricks I used on hills to avoid sliding back was to use the hand brake. I would leave it on until I had the clutch out about halfway and my foot on the gas and then release the handbrake. It worked really well on steep hills.

The main thing is not to panic and let the clutch out too quickly and stall or try to give too much gas which will cause you to sit and spin on ice and snow.
It is actually safer in a stick shift IMO.
post #11 of 13
I agree that a stick shift is much better in snow, and one piece of advice I received when learning how to drive one was: "Don't be afraid of 'riding the clutch' in bad weather!" It worked for me, and we never had any repairs because of my doing so.
post #12 of 13
I definitely agree with Yarra about secondgear - most cars over here in the UK are 'stick-shift' and we have plenty of experience of driving in the lousy snowy weather!!!

Do start off in 2nd gear - you will get far more traction and grip, and will be much less likely to spin the wheels

Take it easy, don't panic, and at the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with asking your fella to come along with you for the first time or two - I am sure he'd rather that than you getting hurt!!

Good luck!!
post #13 of 13
A shift is much better as long as you do not spin the wheels and you say you know how to drive one so no problem - totally off of the subject, but who is DH? I keep seeing more and more people referring to DH. At first I thought it was the intials of somebody's husband but there CAN'T be that many guys with the intial DH. Just a stupid question from a stupid man...
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