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Old 10-24-2008, 08:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default driving on snow and ice

Winter is coming soon and I just got our Insight. I searched the archives and found a lot of talk about snow tires, but I'm wondering how the engine braking affects the car on slick pavement and how people adjust their driving habits to allow for it.

It seems to me that when regenerative braking is taking place, the front wheels would have a tendency to skid on snow or ice. Front wheel only braking, which this really is, would have a chance of causing the front end to skid and the rear to just roll.

Not having been on snow or ice yet, my instincts tell me that using the clutch, then lightly braking instead of letting the electric motor charge the battery would solve this. It'll take a little change of driving habits, but is this the only way to do this?

What do you all do on slick pavement?
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

There's no issues regarding engine braking and slick pavement. It's no different then engine braking in any other vehicle.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

It seems that one of the best bits of advice for snow conditions in an Insight is try not to reverse as it can dislodge the undertrays if the snow is thick or there is a build up. For dislodged read ripped right off in some cases so try to remember this as the undertrays are pricey.

The small amount of snow driving I have done so far caused no problems with regenerative braking etc. The cars skinny tires are just what is needed for snow, so you might be pleasantly surprised how well it does. I think the snow and ice rule is "You do something stupid and the car will do something stupid almost straight away!"
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

It does as well in snow & ice as any other 2WD car, as long as the snow's not more than 4-5 inches deep. As long as it's not up to the belly, IOW: the Insight does not work well as a snowplow But I live in northern Nevada, and have often driven mine over Sierra passes in snowstorms.
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Old 10-24-2008, 06:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

just drive it as you would any other FWD, 1800 lb car...just remember you have skinny tires and its a very light car...

when the ABS kicks in, it shuts off all regen and asst so the ABS system isnt interfered w/ electronically, remember that, as it might throw off your braking, as the ABS does kick in under light braking sometimes

if you have been driving w/ higher tire pressures to get better mpg...i usually bring the pressures down to the honda reccomended pressure in the winter to allow for a little bit more contact patch to the ground(you will loose a little mpg, but its worth it to me for the added security)

+1 on not backing up in the snow

HTH
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

I think the answer I was looking for is about the anti lock brakes turning off regenrative braking. At that point it would become just like any other front wheel drive car, as someone suggested. If it didn't shut off regenative braking, it would throw a big load on the front wheels, causing them to skid, and not affect the back brakes. Kind of like slamming on only the front brake on a motorcycle. That would not be like any other front wheel drive car.

Thanks for the info - when we get snow and ice soon, Ill find out just how different, if at all, it is.
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

Regenerative braking doesn't put that much of a load on the front wheels. Without MIMA, it's about the same braking effect as normal engine compression on any other car. Chances are you won't even notice any difference - I never even thought about it until you asked.
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Old 10-25-2008, 12:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

A couple of years ago I drove from Denver to Utah in a huge blizzard with stock tires. The snow was about 3" deep on Loveland pass and lots of people were stuck. By maintaining momentum and some luck I was ok. Then in Utah the roads were coated with a couple of inches of ice (from the blizzard having passed through the day previously) and it was slippery as anything. I survived, but last year I decided to get winter tires just in case.

Basically the Insight drives like any other FWD car in snow, with the main issue being ground clearance...
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

I forgot about ABS disabling regen braking. Mainly because my ABS has been disabled since 2003 or so.

The Insight's ABS system is overly aggressive in my opinion. I found it downright dangerous to drive with the ABS system enabled.For example, I'd be slowing down then hit a period of low traction. ABS would cut in, disabling regen and reducing braking. Thus the car would then shoot forward and I had no choice but to hold on for the ride as once the ABS is active it's very "sticky" in that you can't shut it off without coming fully off the brakes for a second or so.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: driving on snow and ice

Some of my underside panels got ripped off hitting snow going forward.

This car DOES NOT inspire confidence driving in snow.
I will not drive it in more than an inch of snow.
The one day I had 4" of slush, it was terrifying... the car was all over the road... just going on a straight and level highway.
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