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THE FUN OF FOUL WEATHER
Pat Moss
February 27, 1961
Few persons in the world have had more success in overcoming hazardous road conditions than Miss Moss. Sister of Britain's Stirling Moss, she has twice been the European women's rally champion and has won numerous events in weather so foul that few cars finished. Whether negotiating an ice-glazed road in the Alps, as at the right, or an axle-deep ford in England (next page), she always is in command of her car, and you will be too if you use the techniques she describes below
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February 27, 1961

The Fun Of Foul Weather

Few persons in the world have had more success in overcoming hazardous road conditions than Miss Moss. Sister of Britain's Stirling Moss, she has twice been the European women's rally champion and has won numerous events in weather so foul that few cars finished. Whether negotiating an ice-glazed road in the Alps, as at the right, or an axle-deep ford in England (next page), she always is in command of her car, and you will be too if you use the techniques she describes below

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by Pat Moss, Champion Rally Driver

It seems a curious thing to say, but sometimes the very worst driving conditions make for the best driving. In European rallying, where I have done most of my driving, it is the dreadful roads and dirty weather that lend spice to a sport which otherwise might become painfully insipid and tame. Looking back on 50 major rallies, I can recall: tempestuous storms with blue lightning in Germany; black ice on the slants and switchbacks of the French Alps; unbelievably pocked and dust-laden roads in Yugoslavia; fords in England so deep that water splashed into the side windows; impenetrable fog in several countries, as well as an imposing variety of ice, snow, rain, sleet and mud.

Often, particularly in my earlier days, I thought seriously of getting off the road and into the safe comfort of an inn, but it has become second nature for me to drive on, whatever the weather. I find that I actually like handling automobiles on ice and snow, and I have never enjoyed it more than in the 1960 Monte Carlo Rally, when in deepest winter my co-driver Ann Wisdom and I won the women's section of this supreme test.

Later we won outright the important Li�ge-Rome-Li�ge Rally, which had its fair share of foul weather. This was the first absolute victory for women in any of the rallies counting toward the European championship. It helped disprove, I hope, the old slander that giving cars to women is like entrusting babies with bottles of ink.

In point of fact, there are many women who drive abominably, but so are there men, and they are all at their worst when confronted with villainous weather and extraordinary road conditions—in other words, typical rally conditions.

I think their difficulties are largely caused by apprehension. Most drivers feel inadequate, get flustered in emergencies and fall back on their instinctive reactions, which are often all wrong for the trouble at hand.

Now obviously I cannot hope to persuade the reader to share my enthusiasm for motoring on slippery pavement, and I do not mean to imply that I dote perversely on all the nastier aspects of driving; I abhor fog and mud. But I do know that there is a reasonable solution to nearly every road problem. Given an understanding of proper technique and a reason to believe in himself, almost any motorist can take the fear and danger out of foul-weather driving.

Building up self-confidence, of course, takes some doing, as I discovered the day my brother Stirling took me out to show me how to drive my first sports car on packed snow. Already well on his way to becoming a master racing driver, Stirling was an expert instructor but not a very patient one. I was driving as we returned to the family farm at Tring, northwest of London. As I turned into the gate, the back of the car went around and hit the gatepost. I was terribly upset over having dented my beautiful new car, but Stirling just laughed and laughed and laughed.

In those circumstances one learned quickly. One learned, above all, never to freeze in an emergency. A tendency to freeze is the most conspicuous failing of the inept driver. If he begins to lose control of a situation, his involuntary reaction is to slam on the brakes. That may be the right thing on a dry road, but when the pavement is icy it can be disastrous.

Brakes, steering wheel, throttle—all the controls—must be used more gently when it is slick below. Merely getting underway can be a problem. If you try to start in bottom gear with a heavy foot on the throttle, you simply spin the rear wheels and get nowhere. The effective way is to use a higher gear and as little throttle as possible, then accelerate very gradually once you have begun to roll.

As you proceed, you automatically use that extra bit of caution required when the going is slippery and the tires haven't their normal bite, but caution alone is not enough. You cannot, for example, creep up an icy hill. If you try, you won't have sufficient momentum to reach the top, and the wheels will begin to spin uselessly as the pull of gravity brings you to a stop. Now you must either back down or shove the nose of the car around (if you try this method, be sure to have someone in the driver's seat) and then drive down. Once you are at the bottom, get far enough away from the hill to work up sufficient speed to make it on the second attempt.

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