Nov 27 2013
Driving in the Snow
As most of you are painfully aware, I grew up in motorsport. I raced National and International go karts (we would say Karting) from the age of 10 to about 18 then I raced low level formula cars and sedans until I basically ran out of money.
This upbringing gives me an incredible insight into things like high-level high-stress competition, event prep, aerodynamics, physics, marketing, vehicle dynamics, and driving techniques. For the purpose of this discussion I’ll try and bring things down to a level that most people can understand (don’t be insulted but the average persons understanding of driving a car is akin to a child’s vocabulary – you can say some words but you don’t really know what you’re saying and sometimes you get it wrong without knowing it).
In the Snow tires have less grip. Wow, that seems pretty obvious but what does that really mean? A tire can GO maximally, STOP maximally or TURN maximally. If you ask the tire to do more than just one of those things as a time it CAN, just not to the maximum ability of either. So you can slow down and turn – but you can’t slow down maximally and turn maximally at the same time. In the snow the “maximum” a tire can grip the road is turned down. WAY DOWN. Think about that for a moment.
Lets say the roads are snow covered and you need to stop. First realize that the MAX that you can stop is lower, much lower, than it is on a dry summer day. So you need more room to stop. (If you’re thinking at this moment that you have ABS or 4-Wheel Drive and that makes your car somehow better YOU ARE WRONG. ABS keeps the wheels from locking, which is not always the best thing for manipulating the pitch and roll of the car. And 4-wheel drive HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH STOPPING.) Next consider what you are doing with the steering wheel. If you press the brake and the tires lock up turning the wheel is the absolute worst thing you can do. Because the tires are already doing the most they can do trying to slow down you can’t ask them to also turn. If you want to turn you have to let off the brake and then turn (or have the wheel turned then let off the brake at which time the front tires will grip and you’ll probably spin the car).
Wrapping up Driving in the Snow:
1. There is less grip so you need to separate out Braking, Turning, and Accelerating
2. If you find the car sliding you’ve asked too much of the tire – try asking less by braking less, turning less, or accelerating less.
3. And this is the MOST important – You’re a bad driver with an ability like a child’s ability. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been driving on the road for 20 years and you’ve never had a ticket or accident, you are mechanically a bad driver with years of bad habits.
4. Spinning or losing control of a car is perfectly safe and harmless, hitting things while out of control is not – So don’t follow so closely or sit next to that car while driving.
5. Eyes up.
Now that we’ve got that covered (And I didn’t even get to techniques to reduce rear traction so the front end has relatively more bite to pivot the car!) you can all get to the gym safely today!
8 Front Squats (185/135 – or 55-65% of 1RM)
4 Muscle Ups (or 12 Pull Ups and 12 Push Ups)
16 Kettlebell Swings (1.5/1p)
15 Min to Find Today’s 1RM Power Clean + Split Jerk
6×1 Every 30s
1 Power Clean + Split Jerk 85% of Today’s 1RM
I’m looking for a good, solid, heavy 1RM but I’m not concerned with a PR. If today you’ve only got 200 and your PR is 210 that’s fine – today you’ve got 200.