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Re: Descending Icy Hills

Hairy green toads from Mars made KWHines@aol.com say:

> I don't have to worry about this in Atlanta (maybe once a year), but I dealt
> with it in Philly and will certainly face it if I move to CO. The question is:
> While heading down a steep ice/snow covered hill in your ABS equipped
> quattro, is it best to use engine braking alone (downshift, don't use brake
> pedal), brake pedal alone (neutral coast, apply brake pedal), or a
> combination of the two?  Assume your intent is to maintain best control of
> speed and direction in really ugly conditions.
> I have been wondering about this for a while and it seems the answer may
> change with different conditions.  Also, I know when off-roading down a steep
> hill you're supposed to shift into low first and *not* touch the brake pedal.
>  I'd be interested in some of your more informed personal experience and
> expertise.

Well, my driveway counts as a steep hill, and is often covered with
snow and/or ice. Having spent four years learning to drive down it,
here's my technique when it's nasty out.

I try to line the car up fairly straight before descending the hill.
Turns can really screw up traction. As soon as the nose of the car is
over the hill, I drop the car into second gear, let off the gas, and
step on the brake as hard as I can. Between the small amount of engine
power and the ABS, the car drives itself down the driveway, in control
every time.  Leave it in gear so you have gas in a hurry if you need to
get out of something.

On a real road, I would still leave the car in gear, but not tromp
on the brake so much.


Andrew L. Duane (JOT-7)			duane@zk3.dec.com
Digital Equipment Corporation		(603)-881-1294
110 Spit Brook Road
M/S ZKO3-3/U14
Nashua, NH    03062-2698

Only my cat shares my opinions, and she's only out of her mind.