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Old Today, 12:07 PM
9,058 posts, read 2,177,867 times
Reputation: 4165


My British friend told me about the snow in his area of the UK and how he was carefully navigating his country roads. He currently owns an Audi (forgot which type) for everyday driving and a Lotus Evora -- has always owned one type of Lotus or another for decades -- for 'special.' He is in his mid-70s and has driven on pro tracks in the UK throughout his life, just for fun.

I mentioned driving safely in bad weather and he emailed me this:

Experience of driving on circuits close to the max capabilities of the car and tyres is highly relevant. “Ordinary” drivers have little sensitivity to dynamics and “feel”; they operate on the basis of turning the wheel and pressing pedals and the car just does what is expected. “Ordinary” modern cars don’t help, with automatic assistance mechanisms that come into play even at the hint of a loss of adhesion, on perhaps wet roads. All that “expected” is lost on snow and ice! The sensitivity and total concentration on car dynamics routine in circuit driving become essential on the road! Most can’t cope – they say: “I turned the wheel and braked but went straight on – not my fault.”

Modern cars without a manual handbrake are another problem. Sometimes it’s necessary to “steer” by “bringing the back round” - making the rear wheels slide for a moment. If a rear wheel drive car, the best that can be attempted (looking well ahead to forecast the need) is to drop from a high gear, probably 4th on the straight (to limit the driving torque on snow) to a lowish one, probably 2nd (nicely blended shift to avoid torque change) then, at the moment the back must be swung round to make a right angled turn without losing speed (or else stuck), momentarily to boot the throttle to spin up the back wheels. I’ve only tried that on a large empty car park for practice in the snow. Never for real on narrow roads – always had a real handbrake. Lotus have – and very highly sensitive steering, tyres and chassis dynamics. That’s why we love them!
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Old Today, 12:16 PM
Location: Anchorage
311 posts, read 142,804 times
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I drive thousands of miles a year on snow and ice and never once felt like I needed a "real handbrake." Now, goofing around in a big parking lot or on lake ice, sure, it can be fun, but not something I'm going to deploy while driving on a road.
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Old Today, 02:17 PM
5,080 posts, read 5,149,649 times
Reputation: 5133
Haven't used a parking brake or hand brake in over 25 years on all/any of my vehicles.

All older cars - and a few cars today - have/had a mechanical brake - a wired linkage. In my area those used to rust and seize up/lock up.

Many of todays cars have an electronic emergency brake. No cables. But with anything electronic - that opens up another can of worms. As to when that electronic part fails and needs replacement. The switch on dash can go bad, the wire to wheel can go bad and the actual electronic sensor at wheel can go bad.

Just more electronic widgets that can go bad and be costly to fix.
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Old Today, 03:07 PM
Location: on the wind
5,264 posts, read 2,043,785 times
Reputation: 18459
Well, I suppose if a person drives Lotuses (Is the plural Loti?) there are aspects of handling that sort of car in bad conditions quite removed from someone who doesn't. The vehicle you choose to drive is going to dictate how you control it.

I have an older Subaru; a manual transmission with a handbrake. I have driven in poor conditions; snow, rain, mud, ice, for decades without crashing it or any other vehicle. But then, I know what I'm doing, use appropriate tires, and drive cars designed to handle those conditions better than most. I have never used the handbrake other than to park it. Frankly, unless you are showing off, if you are so out of control you need to use the handbrake to rescue yourself there were lots of other actions you should taken a lot sooner.
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