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General Driving Tips

1530 Views 17 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Sayersj629
My 15 Outdoorsman is my first truck, and also my first more traditional 4wd. And I'm looking for some general pickup driving tips from those of you who know the ropes. I'm from Edinboro, PA so I've got plenty of experience driving in the snow, but most of it has been fwd or awd vehicles.

Since my truck has the 44-45 t case I've got no 4wd auto. I'm taking this to mean I'm confined to 2wd around town in the winter unless the roads are completely snow covered or I'm using it temporarily in a no/low traction situation from a stop etc.

When can I use 4 lock on the highway? Obviously if it's slushy and snow covered and traffic is running around 45 55, but how about the days when it's just moderate with wet roads and traffic is running 65-70?

Is there anything I should never do that might not be obvious to someone who's never owned a pickup truck before?

(I do have experience with some larger vehicles: couple long work vans, an old f-250 work truck occasionally with a trailer all mostly summer driving)
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4 auto in the 44-44 sure would be nice and convenient for those times where there is light snow, ice and even rain. But then again, it seems like some would prefer the 44-45 for its durability over time (see thread in 4x4 section).

I'll start by saying I am very impressed with the traction control system (TCS) in these trucks. Granted, I'm coming from a 2002 truck that did not have a TCS, so there have been a lot of advancements over the years. There has been a few occasions were the TCS kicked and prevented my truck from fish tailing in the rain whereas my old truck would have cut loose sideways for sure. I'm no expert drift racer, but I've been driving rwd vehicles since 98', so I am very accustomed to "turning in" and not over correcting a fish tail. I have not had to do this once in my Ram which is nice I feel. Even when I've done some mild off road, the limited slip differential does well.

So I guess in short to answer your question, I would not use 4 lock unless traction is slippery enough to warrant it. Otherwise, you'll feel some binding up front, especially when turning. I would also be aware of the fish tailing I mentioned when in 2wd, but again I don't think it will be too bad gauging by how well the TCS seems to perform.

The only negative I've found with the TCS so far is when in deep snow (or mud, but I don't mud my truck). TCS will prevent wheel spin, which in some instances in deep snow I found problematic. So I turned it off temporarily to dig through deep snow and allow my wheels to spin.
 

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I have a 2014 Outdoorsman so similar situation. I have used 4 lock on the highway. It fine for snow slushy conditions and wet roads, just remember not to make a sharp turn as it will bind a bit on wet road.
4 lock will only engage at 55mph and below, if its not engaging just take your foot off throttle and it will engage. It will disengage at any speed.


Had slushy snowy and wet conditions this morning, just left it in 2wd and let the lsd and traction control do its thing. Never had a problem until I got to work to get into parking lot with 2 feet of snow, popped it into 4 lock and no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you think you need 4 lock above 55 mph, perhaps conditions suggest you should slow down a bit??
A fair point and I agree. My concern is more with patchy pavement and the driveline. Is hitting a small patch of ice or packed snow on the interstate at speed (70 ish) going to cause the rear end to go crazy and send me into a ditch? If yes, then having the 4wd on would probably be beneficial. If no, then no 4wd needed in that situation.
 

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When can I use 4 lock on the highway? Obviously if it's slushy and snow covered and traffic is running around 45 55, but how about the days when it's just moderate with wet roads and traffic is running 65-70?

Is there anything I should never do that might not be obvious to someone who's never owned a pickup truck before?
it doesn;t matter what you are driving, if the road is wet going at 65-70 is a recipe for disaster if the traffic suddenly comes to a stop, and from hydroplaning. If you pay attention to the way any car drives, you should know when to slow down long before you need to send power to the front wheel to bail you out.

A fair point and I agree. My concern is more with patchy pavement and the driveline. Is hitting a small patch of ice or packed snow on the interstate at speed (70 ish) going to cause the rear end to go crazy and send me into a ditch? If yes, then having the 4wd on would probably be beneficial. If no, then no 4wd needed in that situation.
if your visibility is poor enough such that you can't see oncoming snow or ice patch at 70mph, you shouldn't be going 70mph. 4wd is not going to save you if your front end slips on ice on a bend going 70.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
it doesn;t matter what you are driving, if the road is wet going at 65-70 is a recipe for disaster if the traffic suddenly comes to a stop, and from hydroplaning. If you pay attention to the way any car drives, you should know when to slow down long before you need to send power to the front wheel to bail you out.


if your visibility is poor enough such that you can't see oncoming snow or ice patch at 70mph, you shouldn't be going 70mph. 4wd is not going to save you if your front end slips on ice on a bend going 70.
My phrasing of the conditions was poor. Point taken, if it's possible to go 65-70 4wd won't be needed.
 

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4wd will work at that speed if its already engaged, if not then you would have to slow down to 55 or below. Now going those speeds in crappy conditions are not recommended as others have said.
 

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If its just wet and not icy I would not use 4wd on the highway
 

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IMHO (and opinions are worth what you pay for them), it is inadvisable to use your 4 wheel lock option is situations that would allow ANY of the wheels to rotate at a speed that is different than any of the others. I believe that the Owner's Manual is quite clear on this. My TC is not the same as the OP's but functions in a similar fashion. Both my 4wd Hi and Lo are "lock" modes. Like ThunderHorse has said, unless the road surface is icy (or snow covered) 4wd "lock" shouldn't be used. I have used my 4wd Hi mode on snow covered highways and generally keep my speed <55MPH. Even still, I will switch out of 4wd Hi when in town and it would be likely to be making turns.
RE: other "dos & don'ts", your Owner's Manual is your best source of info on the recommended sequence for switching in & out of the 4wd modes.
Like the OP, my truck was the first "truck" that I've owned and it had been many years since I had a vehicle with an exclusive rear wheel drive mode. One of the first things that I noticed was that, unless there was a significant load in the bed, it was very easy to lose traction on anything except a dry roadway. For Winter driving, I've been placing ~400# of sand over the real axle to offer a bit of improvement.
RipVan
 

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How I run my truck.

FWIW: I don't consider rain a condition to ever warrant 4WD. lol

2WD at all times unless snow/ice and:
1.) Can't get going from a stand still
2.) Need to turn onto a street from a stop and need to get going quickly.
3.) Want to pass someone, and the other lane is less driven on or there is some sort of ridge/ice/etc.
4.) Conditions are very bad.
a.) drive with an egg under an accelerator during these times, but not slow, just light throttle inputs. Most trucks I see in ditches it is because they went to pass someone and hammered on the throttle as they swung into the other lane.... Smart.

I always turn it off when entering a parking lot so it doesn't bind. If its really icey or snowy it doesn't matter too much as the wheels will just break lose and not harm the diff.

I turn it on as long as needed, and then back off.

Has worked well for me so far :) The TC/4 wheel ABS in these trucks is VERY good and will keep you straight for the most part. With a good set of all terrains on there it will inspire a lot of confidence.

Drive safe!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How I run my truck.

FWIW: I don't consider rain a condition to ever warrant 4WD. lol

2WD at all times unless snow/ice and:
1.) Can't get going from a stand still
2.) Need to turn onto a street from a stop and need to get going quickly.
3.) Want to pass someone, and the other lane is less driven on or there is some sort of ridge/ice/etc.
4.) Conditions are very bad.
a.) drive with an egg under an accelerator during these times, but not slow, just light throttle inputs. Most trucks I see in ditches it is because they went to pass someone and hammered on the throttle as they swung into the other lane.... Smart.

I always turn it off when entering a parking lot so it doesn't bind. If its really icey or snowy it doesn't matter too much as the wheels will just break lose and not harm the diff.

I turn it on as long as needed, and then back off.

Has worked well for me so far :) The TC/4 wheel ABS in these trucks is VERY good and will keep you straight for the most part. With a good set of all terrains on there it will inspire a lot of confidence.

Drive safe!

Totally agree on the rain. As far as the light touch on the accelerator goes my dad always explained it like this: "The most important thing you can do in the winter is drive smoothly, don't jump on the gas, and don't put yourself into a situation where you have to stand on the brakes and you'll be fine." This advice has served me well and from the sound of things it'll serve me just as well driving my ram as it has in any other car I've driven in bad weather.

Now I just need a respectable damn snowfall so I can take it out and get used to it.
 

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There was one time I was driving through Tennessee and the rain as so bad I was losing my rear end and had to use 4 auto to get enough traction to make it safely to an exit where I could stop and wait for it to lighten up, but that was so heavy that it was not actually safe to be driving and even the cops were waiting it out at the gas station when I got there
 

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Totally agree on the rain. As far as the light touch on the accelerator goes my dad always explained it like this: "The most important thing you can do in the winter is drive smoothly, don't jump on the gas, and don't put yourself into a situation where you have to stand on the brakes and you'll be fine." This advice has served me well and from the sound of things it'll serve me just as well driving my ram as it has in any other car I've driven in bad weather.

Now I just need a respectable damn snowfall so I can take it out and get used to it.
Your father is a wise man. I got to do driver training on a race track covered in snow. That was a fun day, paid too.. :smileup:

There was one time I was driving through Tennessee and the rain as so bad I was losing my rear end and had to use 4 auto to get enough traction to make it safely to an exit where I could stop and wait for it to lighten up, but that was so heavy that it was not actually safe to be driving and even the cops were waiting it out at the gas station when I got there
Good call. No harm in 4 auto, if I had it, I'd probably just leave it there during the winter. It rains here a lot, consistently. We do get bad storms like that but our infrastructure has been built to handle it. I imagine somewhere they do not get heavy rains, often, it would be a nightmare due to flooding, etc.

Much like when it snows here every 5 years, complete fvcking disaster. :box:
 

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Your father is a wise man. I got to do driver training on a race track covered in snow. That was a fun day, paid too.. :smileup:


Good call. No harm in 4 auto, if I had it, I'd probably just leave it there during the winter. It rains here a lot, consistently. We do get bad storms like that but our infrastructure has been built to handle it. I imagine somewhere they do not get heavy rains, often, it would be a nightmare due to flooding, etc.

Much like when it snows here every 5 years, complete fvcking disaster. :box:
It was late Spring. I'd have got off the highway sooner but it was a rural area with few exits
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It was late Spring. I'd have got off the highway sooner but it was a rural area with few exits
I've been there a few times. Sometimes it just rains so damn hard it's difficult to see. I've never personally felt the need to pull off but I've been through a few rain storms in the last couple years where it's been damn close.
 
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