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sliding the other way. Gently turn the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to do this a few times. Do not pump antilock brakes; just gently depress the pedal. Perhaps the most important thing

to remember about winter driving is that the effects of your actions are greatly magnified. So gently perform acceleration, braking, and steering. And remember: In winter driving, quick action and low traction don’t mix. ¿

JOSH PIVEN is co-author of the Worst- Case Scenario Survival Handbook series. Visit his Web site at


PERHAPS YOUR FATHER’S Oldsmobile had a few 50-pound bags of sand or cement in the trunk to add weight and improve traction. This trick might work to get you started, but once you’re moving it can adversely affect han- dling—especially turning—and make the car unpredictable. If you’ve got a rear-wheel drive car, invest in some snow tires or chains. Or cross-country ski to the office.

THAT SAID, TRY THIS TRICK: Modern cars now have traction (also called stability) control that directs power to the wheel with the most grip. This works pretty well when you’re moving and, say, one wheel begins to hydroplane. However, from a standstill, traction control can hinder takeoff. The car’s computer will apply the brake to one spinning wheel, torque will transfer to the other wheel (which is also spinning), the brake will be applied to that wheel also, and you’ll have two spinning wheels with the rear brakes applied.

SEE THE PROBLEM? Try deactivating the traction control (press the button on the dash) and applying the throttle (even if the wheels spin a bit) to get moving. Turn it back on as soon as you’re on the road, unless you’re using snow chains.

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fffFOUR-WHEEL DRIVE, though helpful when starting from a standstill, has limited benefit once under way—and none when braking.

fffTo get moving, try DUMPING SAND, GRAVEL, OR KITTY LITTER around the drive wheels for some added traction. You’ll need plenty.

fffTO ENHANCE WINTER-DRIVING SKILLS, take your car to an empty, snow-covered parking lot and have some fun: Drive around for a

while to get a sense of how it handles, how to steer properly when the wheels lose grip, and how much pressure to apply to the brake and throttle. Watch out for light poles.

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fffTIRE PRESSURE is affected by the ambient air temperature. Typically, you’ll lose (or gain) one pound per square inch (PSI) with each 10-degree-Fahrenheit fall (or rise) in temperature. Check your tire pressure regularly.

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