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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 18:40 
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Just been out to pick my wife up from work, the roads were very bad and got worse in the time it took me to get to her, we are having a new fall of wet snow on the frozen remnants of the weekends fall, no grit of course. On the way back I had just started to go down a moderate hill and the car in front started to do a 3pt turn. It was about 100ft away (three detached house frontages) and I was doing <10mph maybe as little as 5, I was already off the gas but when I braked the car just picked up speed :shock:

The other driver had started to reverse narrowing the gap, I gave him a series of quick pips on the horn hoping he would stop before the gap got too small or even pull forwards. He stopped but the gap was only about 4-5 ft, I felt some grip under the front tyres as I got to about 20ft away and managed to steer into dropped section of the curb and onto the verge. Then all I had to do was thread between his car and a tree on the verge, I missed the tree and stopped with the back of my car level with the side of theirs, weirdly getting more grip on snow covered grass.

If the gap had been too small I think the tree and my car may have gotten far too intimate, better that than hit the other car.

Definitely one of those oh sh1111t moments.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 19:09 
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Snow and ice make any forward motion too fast sometimes. But what can you do? It's scary, especially as us poncy southerners just aren't used to it.

On the other hand, I braked a little late for the entrance to one of my clients in Bristol today and looked set to understeer straight on past the gate. In a flash of inspiration I briefly yanked the handbrake and came to an elegant halt, sideways into the entrance, right next to the intercom, totally by luck rather than judgement. :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 20:34 
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Way too close, but OK - just

Postby toltec on Mon Dec 21, 2009 17:40
Just been out to pick my wife up from work, the roads were very bad and got worse in the time it took me to get to her, we are having a new fall of wet snow on the frozen remnants of the weekends fall, no grit of course. On the way back I had just started to go down a moderate hill and the car in front started to do a 3pt turn. It was about 100ft away (three detached house frontages) and I was doing <10mph maybe as little as 5, I was already off the gas but when I braked the car just picked up speed :shock:

The other driver had started to reverse narrowing the gap, I gave him a series of quick pips on the horn hoping he would stop before the gap got too small or even pull forwards. He stopped but the gap was only about 4-5 ft, I felt some grip under the front tyres as I got to about 20ft away and managed to steer into dropped section of the curb and onto the verge. Then all I had to do was thread between his car and a tree on the verge, I missed the tree and stopped with the back of my car level with the side of theirs, weirdly getting more grip on snow covered grass.

If the gap had been too small I think the tree and my car may have gotten far too intimate, better that than hit the other car.

Definitely one of those oh sh1111t moments.



I had a similar one some twenty odd years ago. I was driving down a steepish hill in snow and the guy coming up the other way (rear wheel drive avenger I think) gave it too much gas and his back end swung out across the road just in front of me. I couldn't have stopped successfully so went for the grass verge but unfortunately in the deep snow was a large rock which didn't do my front suspension much of a favour....;-)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 03:37 
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I think I would say 'did you start to react sufficiently as soon as you saw him manoeuvring ?
In snow/ice you just have to be going so very slow to allow for all icy dicey moments !
I too would have said go for the handbrake as it helps build friction and as soon as you reach tarmac (etc) it will grip nicely and of course it will help to bring the back end round a bit too. A rally technique is that you get some braking from it even on the ice. I might well have pumped the brakes too (if not held a braking force too) depending on steering and where I hope to go if it becomes an option.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 09:44 
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How about this one.

My driveway is on a slope. I backed out this morning and the front of the car slid sideways down the slope. All at 0.5mph.

Nothing grips on ice.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:39 
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SafeSpeedv2 wrote:
I think I would say 'did you start to react sufficiently as soon as you saw him manoeuvring ?
In snow/ice you just have to be going so very slow to allow for all icy dicey moments !
I too would have said go for the handbrake as it helps build friction and as soon as you reach tarmac (etc) it will grip nicely and of course it will help to bring the back end round a bit too. A rally technique is that you get some braking from it even on the ice. I might well have pumped the brakes too (if not held a braking force too) depending on steering and where I hope to go if it becomes an option.


The car was already going down the hill slowly probably over 150ft away, at that point the road surface was pretty good, I had tested grip before starting down. The car appeared to be slowing for the queue about 100ft in front of them then started turning into a drive, I was off the throttle in 1st and the car was holding speed so at that distance I did not foresee a problem. It was only when the car started to roll back out of the driveway that I tried to stop, even then I thought the distance was plenty given how long it had been taking to stop on the worst sections until then. What I should have done was start braking as soon as I saw them start to turn rather than thinking about what they were doing, I thought there was plenty of room and I could stop in around a third of the gap easily so reacting immediately really did not seem necessary and I had actually started braking in plenty of time.

I could not really use the handbrake because if the car had started to spin I could have hit any number of cars parked on the right hand side. This was in town btw, up until then the last half hour and two miles had been in nose to tail traffic. I did pump the brakes a bit to see if I could feel any change, over the last few days I have experimented with braking in this car and found that the shortest stopping distance is usually obtained by pressing the pedal and modulating so that the abs is just activating continuously. Press harder so that the system actually starts to kick back hard against the pedal and the stopping distance increases noticeably. The only other thing I might of tried is putting the car into reverse, it is something I have thought about as a last ditch effort before but I have not practised it so doing this did not occur to me at the time.

As it happens I ended up turning around too, the road was completely jammed up, and even with a little wheelspin did not have much problem getting back up the road. I suspect that the left side, going down, was much icier than the centre as this road does get parked up at both sides at the weekend.

Definitely do not get enough practise driving in this stuff down here.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 23:38 
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My driveway is on a slope. I backed out this morning and the front of the car slid sideways down the slope. All at 0.5mph.

Nothing grips on ice.


I remember a coach driver telling me once, that he had parked his coach in a ski resort car park, which had a bit of an incline, he was going up the lift and looked back to see that his coach had slipped back several feet ,as he had parked on ice....;-)

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My views do not represent Safespeed but those of a driver who has driven for 39 yrs, in all conditions, at all times of the day & night on every type of road and covered well over a million miles, so knows a bit about what makes for safety on the road,what is really dangerous and needs to be observed when driving and quite frankly, the speedo is way down on my list of things to observe to negotiate Britain's roads safely, but I don't expect some fool who sits behind a desk all day to appreciate that.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:37 
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If the gap had been too small I think the tree and my car may have gotten far too intimate, better that than hit the other car.

Definitely one of those oh sh1111t moments.


If the speed were > 10 - 15 mph (and possibly even as low as 10mph for a sturdy tree), unless there were compelling reasons to miss the car (eg a human standing leaning against it or that to do so could shove the target car into the path of greater danger), harsh as it may seem, I'd pick the car fair and square rather than a tree at any angle. The car face-to-face is likely to mean both vehicles repairable and nobody injured. If you pick the tree, you are almost certainly going to write off your car and may well injure yourself. Think of your car as a lump of cheese, with the option of slamming in to another lump, or a rigidly buried cheese knife.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 14:13 
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I have recently heard of web pads for ice driving and even a trick to get webbing and wrap (through) the wheels to help with grip - never tried it though.
Yep I know the driveway and I know your problem and I can imagine how scary that must have been. :(
I know a rally couple and she was telling me how she always got a car to stop using the handbrake. I have had too much snow to test it out thoroughly, I seem to fight to get up the icy surfaces and when I side it was to an empty side of the road, I would have no gone so far up had a car been there though as you could easily see the ice rink !

When it is icy of course you / I don't want to venture out unless I really need to - snow can land so vast you can become totally stuck and that is no fun.

The grass is better that I know of because although it has less grip than tarmac it has more than ice and the tyres can sink it adding to the slowing effect to a small degree - depends on approach speed. I do recall a slide on grass that had the grass act like oil and it was the mud that provided some friction. Rally car accidents are most interesting to analyse.

So what is the answer to our paved areas and cars ? Heat ? Filtered roads? possible (now) expensive yes. Under paved heating in slopes in built up areas? I did realise on my small incline that I could have used the flame thrower - start at the bottom - helps create the water flow but in much of this weather it would probably just refreeze ! Back to salt/grit then!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 17:53 
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Roger wrote:
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If the gap had been too small I think the tree and my car may have gotten far too intimate, better that than hit the other car.

Definitely one of those oh sh1111t moments.


If the speed were > 10 - 15 mph (and possibly even as low as 10mph for a sturdy tree), unless there were compelling reasons to miss the car (eg a human standing leaning against it or that to do so could shove the target car into the path of greater danger), harsh as it may seem, I'd pick the car fair and square rather than a tree at any angle. The car face-to-face is likely to mean both vehicles repairable and nobody injured. If you pick the tree, you are almost certainly going to write off your car and may well injure yourself. Think of your car as a lump of cheese, with the option of slamming in to another lump, or a rigidly buried cheese knife.


They were side on, though I would have hit the rear quarter not the driver's door so it may not have been too bad for them, hard to tell really the rotation with the impact could have caused neck injuries. Their car would also have undoubtedly spun and slid into the car parked opposite, not that I worked that out consciously beforehand.

Overall a good point that sometimes avoiding another car at all cost is not always the best/safest move. An extension might be that it is better to hit another vehicle full width than corner to corner.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 18:01 
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Overall a good point that sometimes avoiding another car at all cost is not always the best/safest move. An extension might be that it is better to hit another vehicle full width than corner to corner

If double figure speeds are involved, and going to remain at poinbt of impact, however unpalatable it might be, another car, especially if unoccupied, is a far less risky proposition to hit (thanks to its surface area) even if corner on (thanks to its crumple zone) than a tree. Avoid trees and telegraph poles at almost all costs.

Although unrelated, I remain incredulous at those rise/fall bollards. It is only a matter of time before they claim lives despite the impact speed being almost invariably 20 mph or less.


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