In all-wheel drive cars, the transmission delivers torque to both front and rear wheels. Generally speaking, you are better off driving in one in snowy conditions. With torque on each wheel, you are less likely to get stuck in the snow, will drive better on up-hills, and will accelerate better in the snow. All of these advantages come in handy.
However, many of the cars that end up in ditches or involved in collisions in slippery road conditions are all-wheel drive cars. The reason for this is a lack of understanding of what all-wheel drive can and cannot do. This lack of understanding produces a dangerous overconfidence that causes the motorist to drive too fast and follow other vehicles too closely for the road conditions.
As Indiana car accident lawyers, we want to help you avoid this overconfidence trap in your all-wheel drive car this winter. Explained below are the limitations of all-wheel drive and suggestions on its safe use:
The Limitations of All-Wheel Drive
- All-wheel drive does not improve your traction. Your traction with the road depends on the friction between your tires and the road. No friction means no traction regardless of the number of drive wheels on your vehicle. Use snow tires for snowy conditions.
- All-wheel drive does not improve your braking. Engine torque delivered to four wheels accelerate your vehicle and acceleration has nothing to do with braking. Like all cars on the road, all-wheel drive vehicles have four brakes, one for each wheel. Therefore your braking ability is the same as that of two-wheel drive cars. If you want better braking you should have ABS brakes.
- All-wheel drive does not help with turning. How well your car turns depends on its suspension and your tire’s traction with the road. As with braking, the ability to accelerate with four wheels does not help with turning in slippery conditions.
Driving Safely with All-Wheel Drive
Always keep in mind that your safety on the road depends on how well you can steer and brake, neither of which is helped by all-wheel drive. Therefore, you must compensate for slippery conditions by driving more slowly, increasing your following distance, slowing down before rounding corners, and avoiding hard maneuvers by driving with a “gentle touch.” In addition, you must look further down the road because your car will require more braking distance in slippery conditions.
If you are injured in an accident because of the actions of another motorist, contact us. All motorists have a responsibility to drive safely and it is entirely within your rights to demand compensation for your expenses, lost wages, and suffering.