Rear wheel drive cars have the engine is in front and the drive shaft on the back wheels. So only the back wheels are connected to the engines, and the front wheels move along freely. This is opposite to front wheel drive cars where the engine powers the front wheels only.
Many cars on the road are rear wheel drive cars, especially cars from the top marques like BMW, Lexus, etc. Rear wheel drive cars offer various benefits mainly because the weight is better balanced between the front and the back of the car. This improves road handling and offers better acceleration, since the weight of the car is pushed to the back at higher speeds, giving more traction to the rear wheels as they are pushed downwards.
The advantages of having the drive shaft on the back also cause problems for rear wheel cars when travelling on roads that are wet and slippery. This it not a problem for most modern cars as they are fitted with traction control systems, that makes the wheels spin independently of each other.
However, even the best traction control system does not help when there is heavy snow, and you are starting from a parked position. At these low speeds, the weight of the car is on the front wheels, and the rear of the car has to push the car and most of the weight. Since there is nothing pushing the rear wheels downwards, the wheels tend to spin due to the lack of grip.
However, in front wheel drive cars the weight of the engine is firmly pushing down onto the wheels. This allows for better traction, allowing front wheel drive to perform better in snowy conditions.
The best solution, especially for those who have performance motors with low profile tyres would be to invest in a set of winter tyres. Winter tyres provide better traction than all-season tyres that most vehicles are fitted with. They usually have a thicker thread and grove that is strategically placed to allow water to funnel out. This not makes them great for snowy conditions, but provide excellent performance for days with heavy rain, which is common in Britain.
Winter tyres are available for most cars and should be fitted during the months of October to Apr for UK motorists. In fact, in some EU countries, winter tyres are legal requirements. Some of these countries include Austria, Finland, Sweden and Germany. So if you plan to travel to Europe in the Winter months, check if have the correct tyres before starting your journey.