Four-wheel drive may make it easy to drive on snow, but not ice


Icy and snow-packed streets have created tricky conditions for drivers all winter.

However, some vehicles have been able to get around better than others.

Trucks and SUV’s tend to fare well in winter weather.

But, that doesn’t make them immune to the same dangers other cars face on icy roads.

David Lowndes is a cab driver and has had plenty of experience driving in winter weather.

He says his Yukon with four-wheel drive helps him get around a lot easier on snow-packed roads.


“If there’s a blob of snow, about two feet, and you’re in a yukon or ford F-150, you’re going to get through there.”

Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are very similar in that all of the wheels are working together to help the vehicle go straight and avoid slipping out of control.

Evan Penner with Laird Noller Ford in Topeka said they’ve seen an increase in people buying these types of vehicles.

“There is an uptick in four wheel drive pick ups, all wheel drive SUV’s, those kind of things,” said Penner. “You kind of do see a dip in like the Mustang, the rear-wheel drive cars that are not equipped for these temperatures.” 

Many of the newer trucks and SUV’s have technology that make driving in winter weather safer.

“You have that intelligent all wheel drive system, which is like I said that automatic,” said Penner. “It’s just sensing where the power needs to go to each wheel and sending power as needed and applying brakes as needed.”

Justin Glasgow is the president of Performance Tire and Wheel in Topeka.

He said while theses features may make it easier to get around, it doesn’t make them immune to sliding just like other cars.

“The biggest issue is you still have to stop, and four-wheel drive will not make you stop any quicker,” said Glasgow. “In fact, you should allow more time to stop in these conditions, especially with a heavier vehicle.”


Both Penner and Glasgow said most important thing drivers need to remember is to take it slow and be aware of other cars on the roadways, because not every car is as equipped for the conditions as theirs may be. 

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