It’s that time of year where much of the country is experiencing freezing rain, sleet, ice and snow.
Its also a time where interstate travelers will be hitting the roads in their rear wheel drive cars- which possess powertrains that count snow and ice as a traction-reducing , fishtail-inducing mortal enemy.
For owners of newer vehicles rear-drive isn’t nearly the median magnet it used to be, thanks to increasingly sophisticated traction-control systems as well as electronic stability control systems, all of which is required on all U.S. cars starting with the 2012 model year.
Traction control is exclusively intended to prevent wheel spin at the drive wheels and assists acceleration on low-traction surfaces by limiting throttle and braking the drive wheels, which helps prevent fishtailing and spinouts. Older traction-control systems were too conservative and hindered forward movement, today’s improved systems can read the conditions and allow some wheel spin, which is more effective at getting going in loose snow.
Nowadays rear-wheel-drive cars aren’t unusable in winter. You just have to have the right equipment with the right driving practices.