Don’t know about you but two days spent snowbound within the confines of my humble home tested the limits of my patience. A reenactment of a scene from ‘The Shining’ beckoned as I updated motoview whilst hearing undulating engine notes from one impatient neighbour’s Mini that had marooned itself. I should have helped but didn’t.
Two days elapsed and the day came to navigate the Audi along snow-compacted roads. The starter whirred and spark plugs ignited first time, and with a selection of second gear and an application of throttle to compensate, we were in momentum. Watching a minority of cars fighting for traction by drivers applying too much throttle made me pause to think of all the electronic aids that we have at our disposal: EBD, DSC, ABS et al, yet simple block gear-changing evaded the mindset of some drivers. The practice of setting-off in second gear and progressing to fourth or from first to third is one which I first exercised whilst training for my advanced driving test. Of course, changing cogs is an inefficient process as the rev counter dips so power is lost that also depends on the duration of change. Manufacturers such as VW have the Direct Shift Gearbox that uses two clutches to pre-select the next anticipated gear resulting in a quicker process. Skoda’s four wheel drive Yeti would have been a suitable vehicle for the conditions yet is going to be tested in Scotland in April. The engine chosen is a 1.2 TSI, indicative of its turbo status but no DSG box is available on the Yeti press fleet. Technology engulfs us although two days of dereliction of duty reminded me at least, that we ought to be driving using skills that are more respectful of the conditions.
Words and image are copyright of Sotiris Vassiliou