Driving in winter can be challenging enough without someone telling you to drive in reverse, but that’s exactly what I’m going to recommend for rare situations where driving forward with front-wheel drive just isn’t enough.
It’s true that the idea of driving backwards is a bit strange, but in special circumstances it works better with a front-wheel drive vehicle than forward. Special circumstances are deep snow and climbing.
For those of us who live with a long, steep driveway, it can be a challenge going up a slope in deep snow, even with front-wheel drive. Going backwards with a front-wheel drive vehicle can help overcome the difficulty. This is why:
- Its drive wheels are lower, so gravity shifts more weight onto them for better traction.
- You have to drive slower to maintain steering control, and that tends to promote traction rather than wheel spin.
- The front wheels of the car are now on packed snow (thanks to the rear wheels) instead of loose snow, which provides more traction.
- If you feel like you are going to get “centered high” in deep snow, you can stop and go (downhill) because your drive wheels are not in deep snow yet, so you will have better traction. Also, the weight of the engine and gravity are in your favor.
So when winter driving presents you with a challenge like going up a hill in deep snow, you can overcome it by going backwards with your front-wheel drive vehicle.
Do not attempt this except in situations where your path of travel is relatively straight, there is no traffic to deal with, and there is no nearby ditch or embankment that presents a hazard should you drift slightly off course while attempting it to drive in a direction you may not be used to.