The Four-Wheel Drive Misconception - WSET.com - ABC13

The Four-Wheel Drive Misconception

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Lynchburg, VA - As the weather gets worse, and winter takes full effect, we can expect road conditions to worsen as well.

And when you gear up to go out in your car, some of you may think you're better off than others.

Four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive cars, sometimes they're better in wintry conditions, but that doesn't mean they're perfect.

As traffic police said, ice levels the playing field.

While those four-wheel drive vehicles may do a bit better in terms of traction in snow, once on the ice, all cars need caution.

"Well of course you take precautions. You have a four wheel drive vehicle that can get you where you want to go" said one driver.

Four-wheel drive, all wheels working together, making it impossible to get into a winter weather wreck, right?

"It may have its certain advantages but those advantages are lost with speed. The faster you're going, the more likely you are to wreck" said Lynchburg Police Department Traffic Officer, J.W. Blankenship.

Police say in certain conditions, mainly snow and rain; you may have an advantage in an all or four-wheel drive car.

But when weather is at its worst, "You increase the likelihood that you'll have an accident due to the loss of traction. So even if you're in a four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or even a two wheel drive car, you need to use the same amount of caution in each one" said Blankenship.

"Typically, it's 90-95% of them" said Kevin Jones, the owner of Bee Line Towing in Lynchburg.

Tow companies say four-wheel drive vehicles make for big business during the winter.

"They're the ones that I think feel more safe to drive in those conditions. But they're just not real familiar with the vehicle in those conditions. And a lot of times in the ice and snow it doesn't matter if you're in a four wheel drive or whatever" said Jones.

"This is the four runner I was driving yesterday. I was on my way back from lunch break and the ice was quite a bit" said one driver.

This four-wheel drive driver wasn't so lucky, "I was barely able to turn out of the way so that I didn't head on collision with the telephone pole" he said.

Police say in winter weather, all drivers need to take it easy. No car is safe in snow or on ice.

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