ALB under difficult conditions - Spospe
As we are approaching the season of snow & ice I would like to share an experience with Back roomers and ask their advice / opinions on the use of Anti-Lock Brakes (ALB) under very difficult conditions.

In January 2006 my wife set off for work at about 07:00 one snowy morning, just as the temperature was starting to rise above freezing point. We live on a hill which varies from 1 in 10 to a steepish 1 in 5 and outside our house it is about 1 in 8. She set off down the hill in her (old shape) Yaris 1.3 equipped with ALB and Brake Force Distribution: she might have well as set off on a sledge.

My wife set off by reversing out of the drive, up the hill, stopped and then gently, at a walking pace, began to roll down hill (in 2nd gear)

The car was uncontrollable, she could neither stop nor steer. She tobogganed down the hill, over a (deserted) crossroad, into a cul-de-sac, knocked down 4 metal bollards and came to rest after hitting a substantial fence head-on. Maximum speed was under 10 mph and injury, apart from to pride and self-confidence was nil.

Throughout this experience, which I observed from our driveway the ALB functioned correctly and made a noise like a demented machine-gun / hammer drill, but was totally unable to stop the car. The car also was unsteerable, slaloming across the road from side to side. What did stop the car were the aforementioned bollards, not the brakes.

I have previously personally experienced something like the above when driving a Toyota RAV on smooth snow, pushing the brake pedal so hard that the seat-back bent and producing only a very slight braking effect with non-existent steering. Fortunately I did eventually stop without hitting anything. The speed at the start of this escapade was less than 15 mph.

My conclusions are that ALB is less than useful under extreme snow conditions and is actually potentially dangerous as it seems to prevent a wedge of snow / ice building up in front of the wheels. In days gone by, I drove Land Rovers under ?difficult? icy conditions and found that pumping the brakes rapidly seemed quite effective. The ability to actually lock the wheels seemed helpful, but with ALB the wheels do not lock.

Anyone who has seen a demonstration of ALB allowing the car to brake and steer and thinks that this will really work under all conditions is living in a fool?s paradise.

Sorry to have gone on a bit, but two questions:

1) Have other BR?s experienced the above?

2) What should (could) my wife have done (I suggested using the handbrake)?

SPOSP




ALB under difficult conditions - adverse camber
fit winter tyres
ALB under difficult conditions - Dalglish
:: ;-0 ::

1. get a 4x4 land-rover with the hill ascent/descent system (or bmw fitted with land rover's system).
2. take lessons on skid pan.
3. move to lincolnshire/norfolk.

:: ;-0 ::
ALB under difficult conditions - adverse camber
actually, you are right. the abs type stuff improves things in most conditions but in situations like loose snow or gravel you need to build up a dam in front of the wheels.

Years ago I had an audi which had a dashboard switch to disable the abs. Doesnt seem to be possible these days - I suppose you could pull the fuse, but then if you did have an accident I imagine you would get the blame regardless.
ALB under difficult conditions - daveyjp
began to roll down hill (in 2nd gear)

Should have been 1st - there would have been no engine braking with it rolling in second. Put it in first get it going then take feet off all pedals - its' scary at first but the car will settle down and won't go much above 10mph - I suggest you try it now before the snow comes to get used to it. My drive goes on to a 1 in 10 or so private road which never gets gritted. I've adopted this procedure on the odd occasion it snows and it works a treat.
ALB under difficult conditions - Dave N
You can't beat the laws of physics, regardless of ABS, ALB, TSC or whatever useless acronym they put on some electrickity.
ALB under difficult conditions - sine
Would the ALB still work if you switched off the engine? Obviously not something which comes to mind when sliding down a hill but just a thought.

Handbrake might help but it may also cause the vehicle to spin so you'd have to be ready to release it quick. Starting off in 1st sounds like the best solution.
ALB under difficult conditions - jc2
ABS can't give you grip if there is no grip(ice for example)to be had in the first place.
ALB under difficult conditions - bell boy
i agree with all the above just like i cant stand up on an ice rink,if road is that bad make wife walk to work or buy a helicopter ;-)
ALB under difficult conditions - Aprilia
I have been in a similar situation myself. Icy hill, ABS rattling away and the car just slides down with no control. Luckily I hit a 'grippy' patch and was able to bring the car to a halt. The bottom line is that ABS will maximise grip - but if there is no grip to be had then you will still slide. I doubt turning off the ABS would help unless the ice was very thin and a locked tyre could 'burn' through it. You could try pulling on the handbrake, but I doubt it would make any difference.
Again, 4WD will not help and Landrover decent control is also pretty much worthless under these conditions.
ALB under difficult conditions - Micky
">1) Have other BR's experienced the above? <"

Yes, I steered towards the kerb, stopped the car and walked home.

">2) What should (could) my wife have done (I suggested using the handbrake)?<"

Steered towards the kerb, stopped the car and walked home.

If it's ice, then it's a lost cause unless you have studded tyres or chains. 1st gear, leave the pedals alone (as mentioned by others), the crossroads will be a lottery.

One used to be able to "practice" on snow -covered car parks, but RTA probably applies now ... shame. Even in my dotage, I still get a slight thrill whilst attempting a Russ Swift moment when parking at Tescos with a tweak of the handbrake (if the conditions permit). Childish really.
ALB under difficult conditions - bell boy
i practise this at work Micky and hit the skip a few year ago,ive also with the same principal proved to myself how easy it is to roll a saxo
ALB under difficult conditions - Dalglish

i thought the spospe was referring to snow, not ice.

ALB under difficult conditions - mss1tw
>>ive also with the same principal proved to myself how easy it is to roll a saxo

If only you had it on video!
ALB under difficult conditions - Pugugly {P}
Stay at home, after last year's debacle with staff crashing hither and Tither, standing instructions now are to stay at home, some people take laptops home, others will venture in at their own risk. Mind you a Landie is good fun.
ALB under difficult conditions - Dalglish
Mind you a Landie is good fun


but according to some experts above, just as useless. ! ;-) !
ALB under difficult conditions - Spospe
I forgot to mention in my first post, but my wife did hit the kerb at quite low speed, just after it became obvious that the car could not be stopped and it bounced over it. You do not need much speed going down a hill to ride over a kerb, especially when it is lubricated by snow / ice / water.
ALB under difficult conditions - Aprilia
If the snow is 'loose' and not resting on a layer of ice then I have found ABS works quite well. If packed down or on ice (same thing really) then its a real hazard whatever brakes you have.
ALB under difficult conditions - Micky
Complain to your council and ask for bigger kerbs. The kerb bouncing should be undertaken at a slight angle and repeated as necessary, those contributors with nice pimpy rims will be wincing.
ALB under difficult conditions - psi
anyone tried crashing the box into reverse and flooring it?
ALB under difficult conditions - mss1tw
anyone tried crashing the box into reverse and flooring it?


Yes and it didn't crash as I kept the front brakes on.

Stopping effect was negligible...and hitting traction again was...interesting.
ALB under difficult conditions - madf
I had a similar experience to OP's wife. Rover 800, steep hill, snow (loose and new), ABS came on then ABS warning light came on (I assume this means it could not work) and I slid slowly down hill in 2nd gear with no steering control whatever. (reset ABS by switching off ignition - when stopped of course)

Had similar experiences in other non ABS cars and it's all down to grip.. or lack of it. Even small fwd cars (106) with narrow tyres don't do very well. Best for snow was Austin A30 with snow tyres and very narrow wheels/high ground clearance and only 30bhp when new... It went through horrible snow ruts 2 feet deep where more modern cars failed. and the snow tyres and no power meant steering was easy. I think about 10 of the horses were awol at the time:-)
Equal worst were: Ford Granada, Rover 75 and BMW318/320.. all on summer tyres and absolutely us in snowy hills....(I have spun all three :-)
Funnily enough another RWD car - A Triumph 2.5PI - appeared more tractable in snow and ice: I have no idea why as the tyres were all standard...


Snow tyres - as opposed to winter tyres.. make an awful difference..

My father used to have a spare set of wheels and winter tyres for N Scotland winters ... from about November to earlyApril... As we see snow about 10 times a year at worst, it is hardly practical here.. but the Yaris has narrow tyres so an ideal snowmobile with winter tyres I would have thought.

Driving in snow and ice requires very different skills from everyday. The "brake at last minute when I come to a junction" brigade are well and truly em out of their depth in snow.

Tyres in Stoke on Trent in snow are irrelevant anyway: everyone else gets stuck on the hills and chaos and gridlock if snow falls before the gritters work (about 50% of the time. iirc).







madf
ALB under difficult conditions - local yokel
4WD will not help in the situation described by the OP. The lanes round here are littered with surprised 4WD drivers every time it snows/freezes.

Your best best is a FWD car on skinny tyres, and one that doesn't matter too much. I used a 205 with good effect for years in these kind of conditions.

ALB under difficult conditions - Clanger
1) Have other BR?s experienced the above?


Years ago going North down the locally notorious Pot Bank near Harrogate on fresh snow in a Citroen BX 16valve. The ABS rattling away as I approached the first hairpin my first thought was the handbrake. It's on the front wheels but I couldn't get any more stopping power. The combination of light body and fat tyres made an effective toboggan. I even had time to jack up the suspension a notch in preparation for taking to the grassy verge, but the car found some grip in the gutter and began to slow enough for me to steer round the first left-hander. I wouldn't want to try anything like that again.
Hawkeye
-----------------------------
Stranger in a strange land
ALB under difficult conditions - David Horn
Been in an identical situation in Rochdale - drifted gently over a crossroads and fortunately avoided hitting anyone or anything!

Shortly afterwards I took a skid training course and learned how to threshold brake. Had I had the presence of mind at the time I would have switched off the ignition to kill the ABS system and restore normal braking.
ALB under difficult conditions - cheddar
If it is loose snow then the snow building up infront of locked wheels offers more retardation than ABS so switching off the engine and braking or switching of when in gear and letting the clutch out can help, the latter allows you to brake the rear wheels independantly via the handbrake.
ALB under difficult conditions - IanJohnson
Get some road salt and a shovel, also snow chains or similar. Common sense learnt from my father when we used to live just (20ft) off the A66 in North Yorkshire and getting snow was common (deepest I remember was 3ft in a night).

After this experience the OP/wife should not move any car off their drive in snow unless they have salted the road first. Weakness of ALB on snow is very well known and is not new. How would you feel if there was a child in place of the bollards next time - they do tend to play in the snow!
ALB under difficult conditions - Hamsafar
Last winter in the only night of snow we had, I was stuck in a well-to-do housing estate built on the side of a hill, the only was to leave was via a straight steep hill that ended at the bottom in a T junction, or a curved hill which had a left tun at the bottom, but which also had a culdesac which could be used as a run off, I chose the latter, and got my Omega to the top, selected 1st gear (auto) and gingerly started down, the car went faster and I had to brake half way down while bending left, the ABS was stuck on full all the way down after that, it didn't speed up to much, and I was aligning to go up the run off which I did, and then had to reverse, when a pedestrian started to interfere and push my front end left. I was please with the ABS, as it allowed me to maintain steering control, I could have even hit a kerb or tree to avoid another car or person if I had chose to.
ALB under difficult conditions - SlidingPillar
ABS is little help on ice. I once "parked" a car with ABS ie all the brakes locked together, while still travelling at 5 mph. Let of the brakes and used the minimal steering to get to and use the kerb to stop.

My landrover is heavy, and heavy things tend to slide down slopes. I could have killed (deliberately) the taxi driver I once got behind in icy conditions as his car was an auto, in "drive" and was making progress down a hill with the brakes on the front and the rear ear wheels spinning, nicely polishing the ice for the following traffic (I suspect a propely set up auto wouldn't dream of doing this). Luckily I saw the hazard for what it was and got the following traffic to stop, before I crossed the difficult patch. While I had no disasters, I took it very gingerly and it was more like guiding a sledge than driving.

From experience, many drivers have no idea, a few do it about right, and stuff that overtakes my landrover I tend to meet again further down the road facing the wrong way.

If you get the chance, "play" in an empty car park and learn what your car can do. Even if you think you know, the practice is helpful.
ALB under difficult conditions - DP
I had the misfortune of being saddled with a Daewoo Nubira as a temporary company car for 6 months, and I used to pull the ABS fuse out whenever it snowed. The ABS on this car was appalling, and it would trigger ridiculously early even in wet conditions - any moderate application of brakes would send the familiar high frequency pulsing up through the pedal. When it snowed, the system simply prevented the car from stopping at all.

I've driven several cars with ABS since, including the current Mondeo, which work perfectly well in snow (subject to obvious limitations), and allow you to stop safely using a little bit of sensitivity on the pedal. The Daewoo though was undriveable in these conditions unless the ABS was disabled. I've heard the same about some 90's Vauxhalls, which would make sense as there was a lot of parts sharing between the companies.

The OP's description of the long slide and collision and complete helplessness of the driver rang horrible bells. I never actually managed to hit anything in the Daewoo, but I came too close. It's a horrible feeling to get that pedal pulsing and absolutely no retardation.

Cheers
DP
ALB under difficult conditions - Cliff Pope
A farmer once gave me advice on driving a tractor down a steep slope and losing traction. He said you have to increase revs until the engine is again turning at a speed appropriate to the road speed. Too much engine braking will induce a slide.
If one of the wheels starts to turn backwards, jump off! That means the engine is going so slowly that a bit of grip on one wheel turns the other backwards through the differential.

But his best advice was - don't do it.
ALB under difficult conditions - Spospe
Thanks for all the comments to date, the one that I think is the best, provided that one is capable of doing it reliably, is to switch off the ignition, thus disabling the anti-lock system. The problem being of course that there is a risk of locking the steering (due to the high stress situation and possibility of panic).

ALB under difficult conditions - daveyjp
"the one that I think is the best, provided that one is capable of doing it reliably, is to switch off the ignition" Absoutely not, the servo assistance won't work and braking will be extremely difficult.

The best option is as I described - choose a gear which enables engine braking to be used effectively

www.driversdomainuk.com/advanced/snow_and_fog.php

Braking

The key to success here is to use your power of observation, as any sudden unplanned braking, no matter how advanced your car is, will usually result in a skid if you are on pure snow. Should you need to brake harder than planned (i.e. you lock the wheels) remember to use a system called cadence braking whereby you release the footbrake when the wheels lock up and quickly reapply ? with the aim of trying to brake just above the locking point of the wheels and reducing speed as fast and as controlled as possible. This practice is usually not needed with cars equipped with ABS, however, as mentioned before, the sheer lack of grip may mean you will need to do this ? ABS or not!

Another good way of reducing speed in snow is to carefully engage a lower gear and use the compression of the engine to slow you down.

REMEMBER: At least triple the usual distance between your car and the one ahead.

ALB under difficult conditions - Spospe
daveyjp makes the suggestion to use engine braking, but this is not good advice on a two-wheel drive car as any braking is spread over just two wheels not four.

When grip is so very low, the more wheels involved the better.
ALB under difficult conditions - BazzaBear {P}
daveyjp makes the suggestion to use engine braking, but this
is not good advice on a two-wheel drive car as any
braking is spread over just two wheels not four.
When grip is so very low, the more wheels involved the
better.

I think Davey is only suggesting engine braking as far as stopping the speed of the car from rising in the first place, not actually using it to decelerate. As such, I would agree with him.
ALB under difficult conditions - daveyjp
Correct Bazza - prevention is far better than cure. Use the gears to keep the speed at a manageable level then you don't need to use the brakes to slow until the last moment. It was the starting off in 2nd which lead to the problem the OP wife encountered.
ALB under difficult conditions - Cliff Pope
>>
I think Davey is only suggesting engine braking as far as
stopping the speed of the car from rising in the first
place, not actually using it to decelerate. As such, I would
agree with him.


Any braking, whether brakes or engine, can exceed a point where grip breaks away. The advice I remember from the days when I followed LandRover off-roading was to start in low gear and let the engine idle. If the car starts to accelerate you cannot slow it - you just have to keep your nerve and concentrate on very very gentle steering. Never touch the pedals.
ALB under difficult conditions - David Horn
Disagree with daveyjp - on something very slippery you wouldn't notice the lack of servo assistance and it would be helpful. I found threshold braking really quite difficult as it required an extremely sensitive touch, but it was the only thing that worked.

Also, unless your servo is knackered, you should retain at least part assistance for some time as you're not pumping the brakes. And cadence braking doesn't work on ice, it's only if you're in a difficult situation and need to slow AND steer (ie, going into a corner a bit gung ho).
ALB under difficult conditions - henry k
I found threshold braking really quite difficult as it required an extremely sensitive touch, but it was the only thing that worked.

Which is probably more difficult in boots or heavy shoes they may well be used in such conditions.
ALB under difficult conditions - Sim-O
I took a skid course years ago, I've probably forgotten everything I learnt as I haven't had to use the skills taught to me, but driving a figure of 8 on opposite lock etc is immense fun and would recommend it to anyone.
----------------------------------------------
Aim low, expect nothing & dont be disappointed
ALB under difficult conditions - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
Three winters back in Buxton I stopped on a hill; my Passat with ABS etrc.then started sledging forward on the melting snow -which was very scary. No way I could stop accelerating and so I drove gently into the kerb- the snow cushioned the blow. I'd enough traction surpisingly to do a U turn and park very relieved in a side road. I hope my all seasons tyres perform better should the conditions arise again.
--
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
ALB under difficult conditions - LeePower
1995 Peugeot 405 with Bosch 2E ABS = lethal in the snow, I used to disconnect a sensor to shut down the system it was that bad.

2003 Peugeot 206 with a Teves ABS, EBD & EBA system = Doesn't care if there's snow down, just stops as if it was dry.

Just 8 years on from the 405 & ABS has come on leaps & bounds.
ALB under difficult conditions - Big Bad Dave
The real challenge to driving in heavy snow of course is finding your car.

Where I live it is essential to carry a broom at this time of year.
ALB under difficult conditions - madf
As mentioned above, two wheels in the gutter does provide some grip. Saved me more than once.in country... but no good in town due to parked cars:-(
madf
ALB under difficult conditions - Westpig
was taught over 20 years ago to go down the edge of the road on undriven, unpacked snow and if there was a kerb drive slowly in 1st letting the engine revs slow you, not the brakes and use the friction of your tyre against the kerb provide some retardation

never had to do it since and hope i don't

although did admit on a recent post putting my car through a rhodedendron bush trying to get it up a snow covered slope 2 years ago........which seems to show me theory is one thing and practice another
ALB under difficult conditions - IanJohnson
The real secret is to get rid of the snow - hence the suggestion about road salt and a shovel. It is the safest approach of all to the OPs problem.
ALB under difficult conditions - oilrag
"From experience, many drivers have no idea, a few do it about right, and stuff that overtakes my landrover I tend to meet again further down the road facing the wrong way."

I overtook a landrover Defender in my Fiat Punto in snow conditions in scotland a few winters back.
Easy really as he had stuffed the Landrover into a stone wall on a bend and was standing there red faced looking at it.

Made me wonder whether modern cars with ABS can *outbrake* some 4X4s in certain on road weather conditions?
ALB under difficult conditions - LeePower
Depends on how good the tyres & ABS system is.
ALB under difficult conditions - bignick
Regardless of how good your brakes tyres ABS TC etc all they can hope to do is prevent the wheels from rotating but not from sliding. Engine braking may prevent some runaway situations but this also depends on sufficient friction between the road surface and the tyre to effectively run the drive train in reverse.
The toboggan effect will happen even worse as the tread fills with snow/ice and you effectively have two ice covered surfaces sliding past each other. Once this point is reached all you can hope for is a soft landing. If there is any steering effect then weaving from side to side may kill some speed as you select the safest object to collide with. Chances are this will be at very low speed and so damage to anything other than the sacrificial parts of the car (bumpers wings etc) should be minimal.
ALB under difficult conditions - adverse camber
Regardless of how good your brakes tyres ABS TC etc all they can hope to do is prevent the

>>wheels from rotating but not from sliding. Engine braking may prevent some runaway situations
>>but this also depends on sufficient friction between the road surface and the tyre to effectively
>>run the drive train in reverse.


Exactly.

Winter tyres are the only thing that will improve the traction.
 

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