Hey Charles,


JV here. I don’t know if I’m being naïve, or if you teach new drivers about selecting neutral in lower-speed situations when encountering slippery pavement, but if you don’t teach this, you may want to start. Believe me, it may “save the day” (like it did for me) and avoid a lot of damage and/or a life. Also, I don’t recall seeing a video, or reading anything about taking this action in the Compass Coach/Lancer Insurance Safety System. Please let me explain by example:


This past Saturday night I had a drop off at GRCC at the Ford Fieldhouse on Lyon Street. This section of Lyon is on a hill. It had only snowed about an inch, but that was enough for Lyon Street on the hill to be a glare of thin ice. I had thought of having the group get off and walk, but it would’ve been too long a walk, especially with carrying luggage and walking on a snow-covered sidewalk. So I proceeded very slowly & gingerly on down the hill between Ransom & Ionia Streets on Lyon. Almost immediately the coach (72605) started to slide. I applied the brakes, but this only made the coach go sideways. I let-off the brakes. The coach straighten out, but gained speed (which I didn’t want). Finally, I managed to get the coach to the drop off spot, but I was a little shaken up by this point. I unloaded, checked over the coach, and started to think about how I was going to go down the rest of Lyon Street hill without losing control. Then…I thought of something I tried before in our own Compass parking lot a few winters ago: USE NEUTRAL!  When making turns or backing up at lower speeds on slippery pavement, this does the job of stopping/slowing the coach–taking the force of the engine, that is pushing the vehicle forward, out of the picture. I put the coach in neutral and let gravity do the rest. Without the force of the engine pushing, you simply have more control because the drive axle is disengaged – stopping the tires from spinning. I worked the brakes very, very easy, went very, very slow, and made it down the hill with very little sliding. It was GREAT, and believe me, I WAS ELATED! I do want to point out three things, however: 1) I don’t know if you would try this action at higher speeds – say on a expressway. 2) If the ice on a hill is too thick, this action of using neutral probably wouldn’t work; you would have to use good judgment and avoid the hill. In my example, the ice wasn’t very thick and had some bare pavement exposed. 3) DO NOT USE THE ENGINE/JAKE BRAKE to slow down a coach on slippery pavement. This third point I think most drivers know about, but some may not. Well, that’s my story. Tell me what you think, or where I’m going wrong. I think all our drivers ought to know about using this option. Please respond!


Thanks, JV…