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When braking in snow, is it better to shift into neutral, downshift, or keep car in Drive in parallel with braking.

Sudden movements are what you want to avoid,moving from neutral to gear and downshifting are considered sudden movements,all inputs (gas,brake,steering should be moderated.

It depends on the circumstances and the vehicle. Normally you just apply the brakes gently and leave the transmission in drive.

Is your Five Hundred FWD or AWD?

As soon as you lift off the throttle the engine contributes to slowing the vehicle, so, while it’s not the same as downshifting you are getting some engine braking.

If I were going down a steep, snow-covered hill I would probably downshift to prevent the vehicle from building up too much speed, but not really as a braking aid.

I’ve seen instances with RWD vehicles where the front wheels will lock under braking, but the rear wheels are still pushing the vehicle. Steering is lost when this happens, and in this situation I would shift to neutral to eliminate the push, but this does not apply to your car.

The instances when you might need to shift to a gear other than drive when braking in snow are limited and somewhat specialized. Most of the time you shouldn’t have to do anything but brake.

thanks for your analysis. Fits with my thoughts.

My vehicle is FWD.


The things I’ve learned above all else from 40 years of driving in snowy regions are to plan well ahead, leave lots of room between you and everyone else, and do everything…veeeerrrrrrryyyyyy…slooooooooooooooooowly.

I’ve also learned from trial and error that shifting can make it more difficult to keep all four tires in traction.