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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
With the Midwest and eastern states smothered in snow and accosted by abnormally frigid temperatures, this winter has been uncommonly excruciating for people in the Northern U.S. Given the brutal weather, tires are a surprisingly appropriate subject for discussion.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that colder weather hurts fuel economy, but you might be surprised to learn how steep the penalties can be.
Traction is important; it’s the difference between moving forward and sitting still. Without any friction between your vehicle’s tires and the road surface you’d never make it to work in the morning, let alone to that Grand Funk Railroad concert on Saturday night.
Teen drivers need to be extra vigilant on the roads – especially in winter. This isn’t just about distracted driving… it’s also about staying on top of proper car maintenance at a time when roads are at its worst.
According to a Consumer Reports survey, 40 percent of drivers postpone car maintenance or repairs, and drivers 18 to 34 years old are the most likely to put off work on brake pads or tires – items that are necessary for safe everyday driving. By cutting corners on proper car maintenance, a teen driver’s risk of getting into a car accident in inclement weather increases, as does their long-term car care costs.
To help combat this issue, Honeywell Friction Materials presents “Bendix Brakes for Teen Safety.” This social media campaign educates parents and teens about how important it is to keep up your car’s maintenance. Here are a few handy and easy tips to keep in mind:
• Change your wiper blades when you change your oil and check your fluid reservoirs once a month during the winter.
• When you brakes start to squeal, it’s time to change the brake pads, and if you here grinding noises, that signals a more serious problem. Get a certified technician to check out both noises immediately to prevent costly repairs.
• Do a tire tread test with a quarter – if you can see the top of Washington’s head, it’s time for new tires.
• Your car contains a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, so make sure the level is full and the mixture is accurate.
Visit Bendix Brakes for Teen Safety on Facebook or YouTube for information on getting teen drivers ready for winter. We’ve included a Bendix video after the jump – it’s a humorous stand-up routine that pokes fun at teens and winter drivers.
Where does a 3,472-pound bull run? On sheet of ice, of course — what was your answer, Pamplona?
Maybe we should clarify, though the pictures in our gallery probably do plenty of talking. The Lamborghini Academy offers a winter driving event that costs a little more than $7,800. For that price, you get a two-night stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy with access to a long line of Lambos, a driving instructor and insurance to cover any damage.
While it may seem like a steep price tag, you need to ask how often someone will hand you the keys to an Aventador and let you drive it on an ice track with no concern for consequences?
All-in the trip would probably cost at least $10,000. Then again, if you’re going to do something shockingly stupid in a Lamborghini, wouldn’t you rather it belong to someone else? Just make sure to ask about the insurance deductible first.
GALLERY: 2012 winter Lamborghini Academy
It can’t be said enough: winter tires and careful driving are the only way to stay safe while travelling on snow and ice.
Even the best driver will ultimately fail to predict obstacles in some scenarios on the road, which is exactly what happened here. A Russian motorist, or at least a motorist who speaks Russian, catches footage of his own crash after swerving to avoid a couple of hitchhikers.
He is presumably trying to correct a skid that starts after the initial reaction, but ends up sliding right off the road. We hear him swearing in Russian just before the car rolls over and sustains significant damage including a smashed windshield. It doesn’t seem like anyone was seriously injured based on the footage.
Watch the video after the jump.
Some cars handle better than others in snow and as high-performance beasts go, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII is certainly among the best.
The Evo, as it is commonly called by enthusiasts, is a lot like the Subaru WRX STi. They’re both beefed up rally versions of their manufacturer’s humdrum sedans. Stiff suspension, power-a-plenty and a rigorous all-wheel drive systems make these the go-to for off road racers.
That really doesn’t mean anything, though, if you’re caught in a snowy pile up on the highway like the driver in the video below was. Thankfully for him and his car, he understood that driving on an embankment and dinging up his ride was better than stomping on the brakes and sliding out of control. According to the West Virginia Metro News, about 30 vehicles were involved in the crash.
Unfortunately for so many others around him, winter defensive driving is an easily forgotten skill that can save you money and your life. Just remember that front- rear- or all-wheel drive cars cant do diddly without a driver’s due diligence. Stay calm, dress warm and keep a kit in your car in case you get stuck.
That said, there’s a reason our review of the 2011 Evo MR features us hooning around in the snow: it’s damn fun. You don’t buy this car for comfort, you buy it because road gripping, lane churning performance and precision are an enthusiast’s bread and butter.
You can watch the video below, and as always— drive safe. Warning: there is a lot of swearing in the video.
Ferrari will offer a special winter driving course in Aspen, Colorado, with the goal of elevating driver skill and enhancing appreciation for the all-season FF GT, which hits dealerships this fall.
The program stems from the “Pilota on Ice” program recently offered in Italy, and the all-new and all-wheel drive FF will be the star of the program. Sessions will begin in January, and will run for 6-7 weeks, exclusively for Ferrari owners. The program will allow owners to experience the FF’s AWD system in snow and icey conditions. The 4RM all-wheel drive system was designed to retain the sporty dynamic driving characteristics of a traditional Ferrari, in low grip situations. Aspen offers a beautiful setting to test out the vehicle on a custom-made snow and ice course, where the FF truly comes to life.
More information on the winter driving program will become available in late summer.
[Source: Team Speed]
You’re getting pummelled by snow and a wimpy snow brush just isn’t going to get all that ice and white stuff off your vehicle. It’s time to call in the Snowdozer.
A serious windshield brush/scraper combo, the Snowdozer takes all the snow and ice of your car a lot easier then the conventional brushes. It features a double-blade design that scrapes both forward and backward and a built-in brush for sweeping the chunks of ice and snow away. It also comes equipped with a front handle to give you a better grip, an extendable, telescoping arm for so you can stay on one side of the SUV and clear the entire windshield, as well as front plow to keep snow off your hands. Don’t be surprised it the neighbors come by looking to borrow it.
You can buy it here for $17.
Winter, why aren’t you over yet? For drivers, winter is the slowest season of them all. As soon as the snow starts to fall from the sky, you can count on traffic jams until April. We’re late for work, our knuckles turn white from grabbing the steering wheel too tight and people forget that snow tends to make the roads slippery. Is there no hope for our winter roads?
It looks like our prayers have been answered by a U.S. engineer. Scott Brusaw, a 53-year-old electrical engineer from Idaho, is causing a stir with his idea for a solar-powered roadway, and already the U.S. government and General Electric are very interested in the project.
So here’s how the idea works: A sturdy glass material that would house solar cells would replace the existing petroleum-based asphalt. The new road would both heat up the surface (melting the snow) and provide electricity to power electric vehicles and signs on the road (and maybe even homes in the future).
Unfortunately, it’s going to cost some big bucks to put in place. Brusaw estimates the costs at $4.4 million (U.S.) for just one mile of solar-powered road. But, he also thinks that the cost would be made up by the clean energy it would generate.
“Our ultimate goal is to be able to store excess energy in or alongside the Solar Roadways,” the project’s website says. “This renewable energy replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity. This, in turn, cuts greenhouse gases literally in half.”
And you won’t have to worry about the glass used in the new roads, as Brusaw says “glass, especially when fused together in layers, is stronger than most people think.” Joining the project are top glass researchers at University of Dayton and Penn State, who are developing material strong enough to support vehicles and provide traction.
Watch the video after the jump learn more about this solar-powered road.
Of all the automakers that offer winter driving schools, Lotus seems like the worst fit. With their famous British reliability and bare metal cabin surfaces, the prospect of driving a Lotus in freezing temperatures strikes us as a task fit for British masochists like Max Mosley.
But with Lotus’ re-branding, a new emphasis on the “lifestyle” aspects of the company and the Evora’s actual inclusion of fabric and leather interior trim pieces, taking one of the mid-engined supercars out for a jaunt in the snow may not be so punishing anymore.
At their new Finnish facility 60 km south of the Arctic Circle, guests will learn to deal with understeer, oversteer, steering and throttle techniques and also be able to partake in activities like ice fishing, snowmobiling and “reindeer driving”. We’d gladly pay the $2895 entry fee for that activity alone.
A little snow on the ground shouldn’t mean that you pack your sports car away until the spring. And in Canada, Porsche is encouraging drivers to “Never Hibernate.”
Starting this February, a fleet of 20 Porsche Caymans and 911 Carrera models can be found thumbing their noses at the snow on Canadian roads, putting to rest the old tradition of putting high-performance sports cars in the garage for the winter.
Camp4 Canada is a new three-day driving experience offered by Porsche Cars Canada this winter. Participants enrolled in Camp4 Canada will get behind the wheel of these 300-plus-horsepower rear- and all-wheel drive sports cars so they can learn valuable winter driving skills. They will hone their skills on the specialized snow-bound “racetracks” at Mecaglisse, a dedicated snow- and ice-driving facility outside of Montreal. These multi-turn road courses will allow drivers to explore the Porsches’ limits in safe and controlled situations.
“We are very excited to be hosting a Camp4 driving event for the first time in Canada,” added Joe Lawrence, President and CEO of Porsche Canada. “Porsche has long provided drivers the skills to drive with precision, performance and mastery in all kinds of adverse conditions. Our focus with the three-day Camp4 Canada program will be to train participants’ muscle memory for emergency situations and teaching them how to drive with precision in treacherous Canadian conditions, including special techniques for driving on snow and ice.”
You can learn more about the program at www.porsche.ca/neverhibernate.