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Should you use four wheel drive on an icy highway?

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his woman giggling
No. Four wheel drive is for off-road use. Try rear wheel drive.

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Four-wheel-drive cars and trucks maneuver better on ice, but that doesn't mean they can stop quickly. Leave plenty of distance between you and other cars. If you pass the same landmark as the car in front of you within 3 seconds, you are following too closely.

Put chains on your tires if they are required or recommended by local highway officials.

Avoid cruise control when driving on ice.

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White lighting
You betcha! And then go spinnin' around! Yaaaaaaaah!

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ronnie g
The answer is no, stay off the icy highway.

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Miss Dynamite
yes... i hope you're like 16 cause if you dont know by now.... lol yeah but just to be safe stay in front wheel HI

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it could work but it really wouldnt help

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The vast majority of the answers you get are from people who think 4WD is only for getting out of ditches and wouldn't give driving a second thought past their last text message. Don't listen to them.

YES, if you have all wheel drive in any capacity, USE IT when traction is low. It is NOT magic, and the vehicle will drive differently than in 2WD (something the endless Lexus and BMW owners can't seem to figure out when they slide off the highway).

NOTHING beats actually learning how to drive in snow & ice, and 4WD is just a tool to help. You will not stop on a dime no matter what you drive if it's icy, but if you know how to use it (and I mean KNOW how) 4WD can get you out of a pickle.

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done wrenching
Yes, but it may only provide slight improvement on ice, but is always helpful on any surface other than dry pavement.

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Mary Jo W
i do all the time

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no you should use chains. everyone slides on the ice

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Depends on the type and thickness of the ice. 4WD will probably help on thin slushy ice but no good for hard (very cold) thick ice. Chains are best for hard ice but far from perfect. If you absolutely MUST travel and don't have chains, reduce tire pressure to about one half the normal value and drive VERY slowly.

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Yes and no. If it makes you feel like you won't slide, then don't use it. You WILL slide. If you need it to get up the hills, though, it is useful. Especially if you're dealing with traffic, which may cause you to have to stop on a hill.

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no...just go slower

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Fred C
Are you under the impression that 4-wheel drive will make it safer? It will get you going sooner, but the stopping is totally dependent on the tires. A 4 wheel drive F-150 and a 2-wheel drive F-150, with the same tires, driven by the same person, on the same ice, will skid exactly the same. If you have an All-Wheel Drive, that is full-time, yes, leave all 4 wheel engaged. But a 4-wheel drive that has to be switched to 4WD will only use more gas at highway speed, and will not be safer. It may, indeed, be less safe at highway speed, because it is a complete system balanced for 2WD, with 4WD available for poor conditions.
This is general advice. How much applies to your vehicle depends on exactly which vehicle you own. If you post the year, make and model of the vehicle you are asking about, I can give more specific advice.

But a couple of examples may help. A 4wd Subaru, or Toyota Matrix, is built as an AWD, suspension and steering are balanced to handle properly. An F-150 is built as a rear-wheel drive truck, and the suspension and steering are balanced for that, and switching to 4WD doesn't change that.

And NEVER travel with reduce tire pressure. It will take thousands of miles of life off your tires, and may even cause a tire failure. Reducing tire pressure is a trick that may help you get out when you are bogged down in snow. Do not reduce pressure unless you have access to a pump or compressor to bring them back up to pressure after you vehicle is free.

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Rahul B

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It won't help with sliding on the ice, but will help if there's deep snow or slush. You're best off with snow tires or snow chains on your tires (if your state allows them), driving slow and leaving plenty of space between you and the other drivers on the road.

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HECK NO! A 4-wheel drive is no Tonka Toy on any icy road!!!!!

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karl g
Yes it helps ! But dont foget the most important thing 4 wheel drives still dont stop any better thana normal car!!!!

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It is your choice. The thing to consider is that four wheel drive will give more traction in snow for moving but no system is better than another for stopping on ice. Chains are meant for traction in the snow. Studded tires are designed for ice.There are also some stud-less tires designed to grip on icy surfaces

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4WD gets you moving, but it won't help you turn or stop. As 4x4s are heavier then other vehicles slow down and allow yourself greater stopping distances. The only thing that helps on ice are careful driving and tires, make sure you have a good set and use dedicated snow tires if you're worried about the traction.

Drive safe!

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Whether you use FWD or not doesn't matter, it is the way you drive on ice that matters most.

Rules for icy roads......
1. Avoid driving on them as much as possible.
2. All actions need to be slow and smooth, can't speed up, brake, or turn quickly.
3. Slow down, slow down, slow down! Allow extra time for the trip, it will take longer.
4. More following distance, More following distance, More following distance! It will take you longer to stop.
5. Plan your actions, Plan your actions, Plan your actions! You can't get up to the mall entry then brake and turn like on dry roads. Signal first, slow down and advance, turn slowly.
6.. Use your turn signals. Tell the other folks what you want to do so they can plan ahead. Give plenty of warning, I hope they are moving slow and steady too so they don't run into you. If it's icy, it's too cold to be out there filling out accident paperwork.

One tip for rear wheel drive cars, when braking take it to neutral so that the rear wheels won't keep pushing against your front brakes. (Front brakes usually do most of the work) Is your car RWD? Does a driveshaft go to the rear axle? If so, yes.

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