Driving in snow: Prius is really good.

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by mainerinexile, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. mainerinexile

    mainerinexile No longer in exile!

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    In 35 years of New England winter driving, I've owned rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, all wheel drive, and four wheel drive. Some had various evolutions of traction control, including the 2010 Prius. All of them had winter snow tires.

    Every one of these cars was great on snow and ice, regardless of any of the above characteristics. Which leads me to conclude that there are only two factors for success driving on snow and ice: 1) the driver, and 2) the tires.

    Therefore, if you insist on spinning your tires to get traction, or driving on snow with summer tires, or following too close and have to brake hard, or going as fast on snow as you drive in the summer, don't expect the car to save you, AND DON'T BLAME THE CAR WHEN IT DOESN'T.

    The Prius has been great in snow. I leave the 4WD Tacoma home in bad weather and take the Prius. I've cruised past many cars off the road, and guess what, the 'stupid traction control' light has only flickered once or twice because I'm not asking the car to bail me out for bad driving.
     
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  2. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I have no trouble with Prius in snow. Power is easy to control with precision. I have not gone up on a hill steep that I could not so far.
     
  3. J5A

    J5A Active Member

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    I agree.
    5 inches of snow fell here today and I had to go to the grocery store.
    I was heavily debating whether or not take our suv with my favorite tires instead of the Prius. I decided to put some faith in the Prius and give it a go. I must say I was pleasantly surprised and impressed; it handled beautifully.
    I even made it up our hilly, unshoveled driveway with the 100mpg meter blasting.
    Love it!!
     
  4. Beauregard

    Beauregard Member

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    Our Prius, on the stock Toyo's, has been just fine in our Colorado winter. I've lived In CO my entire life and have been driving on ice and snow for 40 years, so I'm sure experience has something to do with it. The only pitfall for the Prius is deep snow on unplowed roads.

    As far as vehicles in the ditch or on their tops in severe winter driving conditions go, SUV's and 4x4 pickups with winter tires are the most common victims.
    I agree completely that the driver is THE biggest factor in winter driving.
     
  5. Teakwood

    Teakwood Member

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    Yep, yep, yep.
    Problem typically boils down to poor tires and stupid drivers, not "stupid traction control."
    :thumb:
     
  6. tonyrenier

    tonyrenier I grew up, but it's still red!

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    I've been saying this for over a year, I don't know how to shout on a message board. I also use ECO mode which makes the car even less likely to spin it's tires.
    Geese, I hope people read this thread.
     
  7. revhigh

    revhigh MPG Enthusiast

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    Performance in snow and ice boils down to ONE WORD, said THREE TIMES ....

    TIRES ...... TIRES ....... TIRES ...... PERIOD.

    REV
     
  8. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    True. Technique helps a lot too. Bad winter driving technique will get you killed, even with good tires.

    Tom
     
  9. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Member

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    Agreed my 2010 is really great in the snow....
     
  10. cossie1600

    cossie1600 Active Member

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    I have brand new snow tires, car can't even get up the streets near my house when there is a little more than two inches of snow (it is a good 15+ degree grade). I have no problem with the car on the highway and everything, but the car is god awful in the backroad when the traction control screws with you.
     
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  11. bac

    bac Active Member

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    Your credibility just took a serious dive. :rolleyes:

    -Brad
     
  12. bac

    bac Active Member

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    You hit the nail on the head - UPHILL. I have a section in my development that's over a 30% grade. If one flake hits the road, I'm stuck as others drive by me with smiles on their faces.

    -Brad
     
  13. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    This video below shows the wrong way to do it. This driver probably applied more power when the wheels start to slip -- causing HSD to reduce power in order to protect MG1. He should have ease the accelerator a bit. The trick is not to let the tire spin out of control.


    Below is the right way to do it. Don't apply too much torque. Prius' traction control with precision torque control can do wonders.
     
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  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    That is a 27% + grade. The multiple videos posted here, of cars and SUVs sliding downhill and piling up into each other, mostly with locked brakes, are on hills less steep than that.
     
  15. cossie1600

    cossie1600 Active Member

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    I don't expect the car to go up a steep hill from a standstill, but god I can't even get up with momentum because the traction control will throw a fit and get the car stuck in the middle if I try to race up the hill before I lose all momentum. People who don't have to drive uphill don't understand how annoying it is.
     
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  16. cossie1600

    cossie1600 Active Member

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    That took what, a good 20 seconds to go up 50 feet? It works great when you are at the comfort of your own home, try doing that with traffic on Main St.
     
  17. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    How is spinning tires out of control and loosing traction on Main St. suppose to help? If you want Prius to behave like a non-hybrid car, it won't. The best would be to sell it and get a non-hybrid.

    My point is to learn how to utilize the electric motor of the Prius. It does not behave the same as a non-hybrid because it has maximum torque at 0 RPM. It can be the ultimate traction control if you know how to utilize it.
     
  18. revhigh

    revhigh MPG Enthusiast

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    There's something wrong with your car .... take it in for service ....

    REV
     
  19. dkelly

    dkelly Member

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    My only concern driving in snow is the ground clearance. Other than that, it's been the best FWD car I have owned in the snow, and I still have the factory tires. It is kind of a heavy car for its size, which I suppose helps a bit.
     
  20. mainerinexile

    mainerinexile No longer in exile!

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    My experience is the opposite. There is a really steep hill near my house, and I can ease up that hill no problem ('ease up' s the operational concept!) while people who like to spin their wheels are in the ditch. It is technique as another person noted. When you slip, ease up on the gas. ECO mode helps keep from slipping too, although most people think the opposite.
     
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