Snow driving Q

George Selby gselby4x4 at
Thu Dec 5 03:37:53 EST 2002

At 06:30 PM 12/4/02, you wrote:
>hey, keep practising, and maybe run some nice wide "summer tread"
>tires.  You should be able to throw a coupe gt into all sorts of silly
>positions without using the handbrake at all.  Though I guess it does
>keep the cables and caliper levers from getting iced up!

My favorite silly position with my former Coupe GT was sliding backwards at
about 65 mpg down and across the shoulder of a four-lane highway.  I was
cruising along in light snow/slush and was thinking to myself, "Wow, this
Audi Coupe GT isn't even a Quattro, and it's handling the snow great, it's
almost a German snow cruising machine."  Seconds later I have spun around
180 degrees and am sliding quite quickly.  I completely crossed the ditch
on the side of the road while travelling backwards, then same to a stop
only 3 inches from a main telephone junction box (Thankfully, I bet the
bill for replacing and rewiring, as well as service loss for such a box
could be quite expensive.)  I could more forward and back, but couldn't get
back across the ditch, so I had to call AAA to pull me out.  Only damage
was the front bumper popped off (it was doing that anyway, popped right
back on;) and the rear panhard bar broke.  Took me a couple of days to
realize it, I could just barely feel the rear end wiggling from side to
side, and it wasn't doing that before my little mishap.  I had a thick
solid metal rod welded into the panhard bar (which is  U shaped,) and the
coupe handled better than ever (due I presume to total elimination of flex
in the panhard bar, and thus the rear axle positioning.

Best part of the incident was after it happened.  I live in eastern NC, and
we get maybe 1-2 snow/ice events per year, and we haven't had even that
many for the past decade.  So when the weather turns bad, accidents happen
often, and the police and tow trucks are busy.  So while I'm waiting for
AAA, almost everyone who drives by stops and asks if I'm OK.  I tell them
yes, and they go on (they pull off the road onto the paved shoulder to ask
me.)  This goes on for an hour or so.  Then a sheriff's deputy patrol car
slowly drives by me, stops the travel lane, and then reverses to pull up
next to me (still in the travel lane, and without activating his emergency
lights.)  This is on a major four-lane highway in the afternoon in the
snow.  Needless to say, traffic was approaching, in fact a bunch of 20 cars
all together.  When the first two cars see the sheriff reversing, all hell
breaks loose.  Cars are diving into the median, sliding around and hitting
one another.  All this because the sheriff is an idiot.

Unfortunately, only the Highway Patrol and city police units can take
accident reports, so everyone has to wait for a Highway Patrolman to show
up.  While waiting, my tow truck shows up and pulls me out.   The sheriff
tells me I have to wait (so the HP could take a report for my accident, if
there is over $500 damage in an accident in NC, it had to be reported, and
tickets likely issued.)  I've been here for like 2.5 hours now.  When the
HP finally shows up, he immediately starts taking a report on the newer,
larger accident (I think one of the cars in the front took the blame, not
the sheriff who should have taken the blame for doing an stupid
maneuver.)  I had to go over to him, tell him I was first, and who's
accident he was really here for; then explain I had no damage to my car,
and he just let me go.  Even though I witnessed the entire big accident
(and told the HP this) they never asked me a single question, which I find
quite strange, since there were no skid marks to measure, and all the cars
were out of position (sheriff moved them all so traffic could pass) so
there was no real evidence about what happened there.

George Selby
83 Audi Coupe GT
gselby4x4 at

More information about the quattro mailing list