Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Snowy times insert: Friday Jan. 3, 2014.

SNOWY, ICE AND 4WDs:  Here’s where I offer my proverbial 4WD snow warnings.

Firstly and foremostly, 4WD (truck or SUV) is not all that miraculous on snow and ice. Oh, it’s way better than your standard rear-wheel 2WD vehicle, though 4WD can’t hold a candle to front-wheel drive vehicles on icy and shallow-snow road surfaces.

There’s this all-too-obvious delusion among mainly uninitiated 4WD’ers that their vehicle is geared for anything winter can throw upon roadways. Ain’t true. Not only can 4WD readily succumb to icy surfaces but the oft confused interaction of two sets of tires independently trying for bite can throw a 4WD vehicle into some weird-ass, highly unpredictable spins and swirls. Take it from a have-been-spun expert, i.e. me.

Admittedly, if driven slowly and with undivided attention to road conditions, a 4WD can go forward where many other sedans and such can’t travel. Also, tire type can add to a 4WD’s grabbing ability on bad surface conditions. However, zipping along in a 4WD truck or SUV with a rapt sense of vehicular road superiority in snow and ice can easily lead to a rude and potentially catastrophic wakeup call. You have surely seen 4WD folks zipping along at unsafe snow/ice speeds, thinking they can stop in a 4WD heartbeat. No frickin’ way. Steer clear of those delusional leadfoots.

Ice/snow stopping 101: Be sure to know if your vehicle has antilock brakes. If it does – and most do – you can brake accordingly. “Accordingly’ in snow and ice is started three times sooner than in normal conditions. Apply pressure steadily.

If your vehicle doesn’t have antilock brakes, you have to manually pump brakes, even during a skid. Plastering the brake pedal to the floor during a stop -- or in a skid -- is the kiss of death, hopefully not literally. Counterintuitively, fully releasing the brake pedal during a skid in a standard braking system can actually break you out of the skid. 

Another snow warning for 4WD’ers applies to buggying on the beach. Simply put: Avoid the temptation to drive any and all snow-covered beaches. And they do look enticing, all smooth and undriven. For some odd physics reason, buggy tires can’t cope with snow layered atop sand. You’ll get through the snow but your tires will be RPM’ing so high they simply sink into the sand below; a total cold-foot bog-down. You’ve been warned. Once again, you’re hearing the voice of experience – that voice having issued more assorted cusses than technically exist.

It’s time to get a new LBT beach buggy permit of you’re going to be owling in Holgate.

It’s also time to resign with the nation’s Saltwater Registry: http://www.nj.gov/dep/saltwaterregistry/index.html.

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