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How Honda Civic V.S.A. stays on track in snow and ice

The second week of December brought an unprecedented “Polar Blast” to the Pacific Northwest, leaving many front, rear and all-wheel-drive cars and light trucks in the driveway. Civic anyone?

Looking to Monday’s inbox, after digging through a pile of the usual notifications and end of the year drivel, I came across a very viable and important question from a new 10th generation Honda Civic owner that wasn’t familiar with the ins and outs of driving Civic on ice and snow-bound road surfaces. In short: “ is it o.k. To drive my new Civic with the stability assist light on? Seriously bro?

Here’s a bit of kind advice: When sensing a skid or loss of traction on a gravel or icy hard road surface -- back of on the gas, (initially) keep your foot off the brake -- let V.S.A. do its job -- do not steer hard into the skid.

O.K., good enough…

The reader asking the question may live in desert dry Phoenix, Arizona, or “ when will we see some rain” Los Angeles. It could also be his or her first car. Me, I presently sit in tree splitting frozen rain and sub 30 F degree temperatures. And yes, I’ve driven my primary front-wheel drive car on ice and through snow more times than I’d care to count. Traction? Usually. Read my latest Civic drive and ride experience here.

I’ve caught more than one Honda Civic in my time blasting around town on all weather tires without studs or chains. I’ve also witnessed an 8th or 9th generation Civic drive out from under a snow mound in Tahoe without chains. I personally pushed 10th generation Civic to the rev limiter through a tight S-curve or two in the rain -- it’s pretty darn road sticky. But ice? Not yet. 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback brings ride refinement and welcomed hatch-utility to an exceptional lineup.

I’m not sure how early Honda implemented Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) as a standard feature on all Honda Civics -- but it’s been around for some time. Watch the following video to learn the ins and outs of VSA.

Photo Attribution: Fellow forum member Ultra Frozen