How to Drive a Grand Marquis in the Snowby Bob Shneidley
The Mercury Grand Marquis is an American car with rear-wheel drive. It has a large V8 engine, two-wheel drive and a small amount of ground clearance. Simply put, this vehicle is not ideal for the snow. Use extreme caution when driving a Grand Marquis in the slippery conditions that snow and ice bring. Rear-wheel drive is a disadvantage because the car loses traction when the rear wheels are pushing and slides out easier. Nevertheless, learn how to operate a two-wheel drive car such as the Grand Marquis in the snow when no other options present themselves.
Prepare your car before you head out. Make sure you are carrying chains and emergency flares. Also, make sure your fluids are topped off, with an extra eye for antifreeze, windshield wiping fluid and brake fluid. Make sure your tires are rated to be driven in the snow and that they have the proper amount of traction.
Anticipate the problems before they happen. Driving in snow requires much more forethought than on dry roads. For example, you must account for a sharp turn long before you are in the midst of the turn. You must slow down and take the turn as wide as possible, without setting the tires loose and causing a spinout. Increase your following distance. It will take you far longer to slow down on an icy road.
Ease off your usage of the brakes. Overusing brakes is a major cause of accidents in the snow. Especially in heavy, rear-wheel-drive cars like the Grand Marquis, slamming on the brakes forces the tires to lock up and the rear of the car to spin out of control. At this point, you have little to no control over the car. Shift to a lower gear on downgrades so the transmission slows the car down rather than the brakes.
Use chains in extreme conditions. Having chains on your Grand Marquis creates far more traction than any driving technique or snow tire. Know how to attach them on your tires because many chains have different installation procedures. For a rear-wheel-drive car, the chains need to be attached to the rear wheels. Observe the maximum speed for driving with chains because it is often lower than for cars without chains. Practice putting your chains on in dry conditions because it will be exponentially more difficult when it is snowing, cold and windy and you are in a hurry.
- The dangers of driving on snow can't be overstated. Know when you have to cancel the trip and save the drive for another day. It is not worth risking your life or the lives of loved ones.
- winding road in the snow image by Sean MacLeay from Fotolia.com