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Use 4WD on wet pavement?

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by HeidiJ, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. Mar 6, 2010 at 6:47 AM
    #1
    HeidiJ

    HeidiJ [OP] Member

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    Hello All,

    I am a brand new member of this forum having just wrecked my beloved Tacoma on the Taconic State Parkway last weekend. The weather was 38 degrees and drizzling. We had just had a record snowfall and I was heading to work for day 4 of a massive storm restoration effort at the power company where I work. On my way to work at 6am, I had the truck in 2WD because the roads were just wet, no snow remained.

    On the TSP at about 60 mph, I noticed the rear end was slipping so I began to slow down hoping to get under 50 mph and throw the 4WD on. Next thing I knew, the truck hit what must have been a patch of black ice and it immediately slipped sideways and went off the road into a tree.

    I have been driving in killer bad weather for 30 years - a necessity in my job - so I know how to recover from a skid. Helps to have manual transmission. But, this time there was absolutely nothing I could have done. The truck was sideways in an instant all I could do was yank the wheel so I didn't hit the trees head on. Which, BTW worked well since the airbags never operated.

    I wasn't hurt a bit (not even a bruise), but the truck suffered $10K in damage. Yes, that's ten thousand dollars!

    It's being fixed because the frame wasn't damaged and I love this truck beyond words. But...

    FOR NEXT TIME: What do you all recommend? I'm trying to get to work. Fastest way is the curvy Taconic Parkway. Road is wet, but not obviously slippery. Do I drive in 4HI? I don't care about gas mileage, just damage to the drive train.

    Help???

    Heidi in NY
     
  2. Mar 6, 2010 at 6:53 AM
    #2
    luni

    luni Resident Gun-toting Hippie

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    I'm familiar with the Taconic and actually saw a VW Jetta hydroplane in a bad rain storm and ride the center jersey barriers before coming back down and going off the right side of the road. I learned how to drive in the northeast so I'm no stranger to crappy weather.

    If there's snow or frequent icy patches, I'll kick in the 4WD. It helps get a little more go and linking the drivetrain to all 4 wheels makes engine braking more effective. I wouldn't do it on wet roads, especially as windy as the Taconic.

    Sounds like you just outran your headlights/field of view and couldn't slow down in time to negotiate the black ice. 50mph is still pretty damn fast for the Taconic, especially in any kind of weather.
     
  3. Mar 6, 2010 at 7:07 AM
    #3
    HeidiJ

    HeidiJ [OP] Member

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    Thanks, Luni. I think next time I'll just avoid the stupid Parkway! Back roads are slower, but believe me, sitting in a ditch waiting for the NYS police to never show up (another long story) didn't exactly get me to work very quickly. Thanks for your advice. -H.
     
  4. Mar 6, 2010 at 7:12 AM
    #4
    luni

    luni Resident Gun-toting Hippie

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    lol yea. i was heading from long island to some friends in upstate in a monsoon.

    If I knew there was gonna be a small pond at every dip in the road I would have taken 684 or somethin.
     
  5. Mar 6, 2010 at 7:20 AM
    #5
    RainDodger

    RainDodger YGWYPF

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    I live in an area that has lots of curvy, 2-lane roads, some of which don't see any sunlight during the day because of tall trees everywhere. It's common to see ice even during afternoons when the outside temp is above 40. What I'm getting at is, sometimes it IS wise to run in 4WD if it's raining or really wet outside. There's not much that 4WD will do for you on ice, but sometimes it will. To me, it's worth it to be in 4WD if there's a chance of hitting something really slick. I pop it into 4WD when I'm in those areas and the weather is conducive to ice, but only when the roads are wet or it's raining of course.
     
  6. Mar 6, 2010 at 7:28 AM
    #6
    fletch aka

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    Welcome to the forums Heidi. Glad your OK, sorry to hear about your truck. Hope you hang around, post up some before and after pictures if you have em.
    :wave:
     
  7. Mar 6, 2010 at 7:43 AM
    #7
    azcat

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    FWIW: your airbags didn't deploy because you didn't hit the trees head-on. The on-board nanny decides which, if any, air bags to set off based on speed, direction, impact area, and a bunch of other factors. There's a section in the OM that explains it.
     
  8. Mar 6, 2010 at 7:50 AM
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    luni

    luni Resident Gun-toting Hippie

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    I rolled my truck and the airbags didn't go off. I didn't need them, I was rolling sideways:D I walked from the accident.
     
  9. Mar 6, 2010 at 9:18 AM
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    azcat

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    Yeah, seems like there's a disable button for the side impact airbags "for off-road use only."

    Don't know if I'll survive the summer--I'll be in the Miata, mostly. No ABS, no LSD, no VSC, no electronic throttle, no cruise control, no automatic transmission--damn, I'll actually have to drive the thing.
     
  10. Mar 6, 2010 at 10:46 AM
    #10
    luni

    luni Resident Gun-toting Hippie

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    There's a side curtain airbag disable button for offroad rollovers. I was on 4 lane road doing 60 in a 2007. No airbags deployed. Seat belt worked.
     
  11. Mar 6, 2010 at 10:53 AM
    #11
    David K

    David K Well-Known Member

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    Yes, engage the 4WD High, next time... 60 mph max.... You got, so use it! Much, much better handeling on slippery roads.

    Dry pavement is where you don't want to be in 4WD, because the front and back tires are locked together and when you turn, the front tires need to turn more than the back... so binding will occur, possible gear damage.

    Anytime tires can slip a bit (dirt, sand, snow, rain, mud) use the 4WD.

    Sorry about the accident! Black ice sounds bad... !
     
  12. Mar 6, 2010 at 10:56 AM
    #12
    Taco-NB

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    Wet roads around freezing temperatures are crazy dangerous. You can go pretty fast when your going straight but you really have to slow down around the curves (i.e. slow down before you get to the curve), especially if your not in 4X4. I always use 4x4 when there is snow or a chance of ice.

    Glad your OK!
    :amen:
     
  13. Mar 6, 2010 at 10:58 AM
    #13
    Brunes

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    4WD becomes 4WSlip just as fast as 2WD.

    I've used the Taconic Pkwy a ton- You were probably pushing it a bit fast if it was wet and cold...Going slower (either using slower roads or a much lower speed on the TP) will work out way better than relying on traction aids to prevent a situation like yours.

    Sorry about the hassle with the truck- I hope it drives good for you once it's all put back together.
     
  14. Mar 6, 2010 at 11:06 AM
    #14
    SC4333

    SC4333 Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes you just need to drive a bit slower, unfortunately. As for using 4wd on wet roads, I do it all the time in my 2500HD d-max work truck. The truck is a four door, long bed, so its much more stable than say, a Tacoma, due to the length. None the less, 4wd will help you pull your self out of a tail spin much better than if you were in 2wd. The key is, to stay out of a spin in the first place.
     
  15. Mar 7, 2010 at 4:25 AM
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    HeidiJ

    HeidiJ [OP] Member

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    Thanks, everyone for your sound advice. Honestly, this was not a situation of going too fast in known bad conditions. If I was in the habit of doing THAT I'd be dead by now because I've clocked thousands of miles in all kinds of weather imaginable - snow, sleet, freezing rain, floods and just this past week I added driving in snow that was the exact consistency of Italian ice. No kidding. It was the slipperiest stuff I have ever experienced (without giving away my age, we're talking 20+ years of driving).

    I've just always been careful about using 4WD only when it was needed. I never, ever forget to switch it off when I'm on dry roads. This time, it just didn't seem necessary, but now I know. A hard lesson.

    I also confess that my tires were on their last few thousand miles and I'm sure that didn't help. I was never thrilled that particular set of tires (Coopers). They didn't seem to handle all that well and only lasted 25K miles. What do you all suggest for the best all weather tires for this truck? I think I'll treat it to four new ones once it comes back from the body shop. And an oil change!

    Any thoughts?

    Heidi
     
  16. Mar 7, 2010 at 4:51 AM
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    hoosiertaco

    hoosiertaco Well-Known Member

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    Glad you are ok Heidi. This is exactly why people shouldn't give me a hard time about my studded tire investment. Much cheaper than the 10k and probably would have gave you time to adjust your speed. For people that have never drove with studded tires, they have no room to speak on the matter of studded tires. They are amazing how they increase your traction on solid ice. I highly recommend them. Disclaimer: I still drive slow on bad roads.
    some info> http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/wheels-tires/14887-studdly-taco.html
     
  17. Mar 7, 2010 at 5:05 AM
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    kanelakos

    kanelakos Well-Known Member

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    IMHO, doing 50mph, it does not really matter if you are in a slide on ice. 4WD is mainly to get vehicle moving in slippery conditions or off roading. Once you are moving a decent speed 4wd does not help much. One exception I can think of is if you are doing 30-40 mph and you have to hit the gas, with 4wd engaged your rear-end will not slide sideways.
     
  18. Mar 7, 2010 at 6:34 AM
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    Simon's Mom

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    x2!
    1st Glad to hear you are ok!
    2nd Once going very very slow in 4WD on a dirt backroad with snowflake rated All Terrains I hit a patch of black ice & bam was outta control into a ice bank. Nothing close to your accident but it happened so quick.
    Now I run studded tires (legal in VT) thanks to Hoosiertaco recommendation & for the last two seasons have had no issues whatsoever...my abs doesn't even kick in. Granted I still keep it slow in bad weather for I travel a lot & tow to the mountains.

    Plus the second set of tires/rims save my nice ones for summer. Now I so many other cars/suvs/trucks in parking lots going tick tick tick when they drive by...I have actually like the little noise....

    As far as a low fwd car, I have a Del Sol, you cannot get much lower than that, and yes it runs snows too but damn I do not like driving that at all in winter with snowbanks & huge cars around me...scares the daylight out of me so it stays parked most of the time...getting hit in that thing would not be pretty...airbags or not....

    Hope you the best in getting your trucks fixed!
     
  19. Mar 7, 2010 at 6:52 AM
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    jandrews

    jandrews Carolina Alliance Southwest Region Ambassador

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    Extra weight in the ass (sandbags, lashed down if possible), some QUALITY tires (bridgestone and michelin have some excellent models for wet road performance, but you may want snow-rated or studded in NY), engine braking, and, above all, the light food mod.

    Remember, 4WD will help you get going, and help you stay in control while moving, but every car ever made has 4 wheel brakes - no help in stopping there.

    Sorry bout the truck. Glad you're ok.

    Edit: a few tire suggestions, since you asked. These are all on-road only suggestions:

    The Michelin LTX M/S is phenomenal, but pricey:
    http://www.michelinman.com/tires/light-truck/ltx-ms/

    Bridgestone's Dueler units are also very good:
    http://www.bridgestone.com/products/passenger_tires/dueler/index.html




    Agreed. I have a Matrix (FWD) and it is suprisingly capable, but the Tacoma simply has too many extra weapons (VSC, 4WD, the OR package alphabet soup of traction modes) for me to leave it at home in bad weather.
     
  20. Mar 7, 2010 at 9:42 AM
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    AFTaco

    AFTaco Well-Known Member

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    If you drive on wet pavement a lot, I would recommend getting some good rain tires and maybe throwing some weight in the back. If you really dont care for mpg, then yes, 4h would be ok to use sometimes.
     
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