Re: winter driving with a locker
Not sure if I'm clarifying or disagreeing with ya, CJcrawler...Do you mean a gear ratio numerically low gear, or a gear # numerically low gear?
For the winter driving with a locker, you want to limit application of power to the drive wheels, to avoid spinning them. TO do this, avoid really low gears (1st, low, etc.) Use higher gears, easy application of power, and think way ahead before you speed up, turn, or brake. Maybe start out in second instead of first (or even third if you've got a tranny with a granny first)...Don't misread this, I am not encouraging anyone to burn their clutch up using too high of a gear...but...
Think about driving on a slippery surface in terms of a finite amount of traction. ON dry roads, you have 25 units of traction. Normal Turning takes 10 units, normal braking takes 10 units, Normal accelerating takes 10 units. So you can turn and accelerate normally, turn and brake normally, etc. You can also accelerate rapidly and turn normally...all without exceeding the available traction (exceeding the available traction results in loss of control). On snow, you're down to 10 units of traction available. ON ice, more like 3-5. Don't exceed the available traction, and you're fine...locker or not. The same basic rules apply...but locked vehicles are more prone to "steering by throttle" where even gentle throttle application can cause the locked axle to spin both tires and thereby lose traction at that axle.
If you do feel slip, there are a few options, depending on what is slipping.
If braking and you feel slip, ease up on the brakes to regain traction. ONce the wheels are spinning again, gently reapply brakes. There are 2 theories here...the first is the old "pump the brakes" method, where you do the poor man's ABS. The second theory is something called threshold braking, where you step on the brakes as hard as you can without locking them up...if a tire locks up, release the brakes and try again. Threshold braking is more difficult but more effective than poor man's abs.
If accelerating and you lose traction, well, if you're on the street, let off the gas a bit, or step on the clutch if needed, to regain traction. If you're turning and accelerating and you start slipping sideways, stepping on the clutch can often help a lot.
If turning and you start to slip, things can be complicated. Losing speed would be desirable, but trying to turn and brake will only be a futile attempt to use more traction than you have. Let off the gas, step on the clutch, and try to back off the steering wheel until you regain traction...you may not turn quite as tight as you'd like, but it's better than nothing. The other tactic for turning...well it's best practiced in a parking lot until you get used to it. IN a 4wd or FWD vehicle, you can apply more gas, and use the front axle to pull you around a corner...but this is best done only after practicing and then with extreme caution.
The only change between locked and unlocked is that both rear tires will react the same...so if you spin one tire, you've got no 'anchor' to hold the rear end from sliding laterally. So you'd best exercise more caution. Once you get used to it, I don't think it is a detriment at all...and IMHO, driving on slippery surfaces with a manual and a locker is easier than with an auto and a locker...because you can more accurately modulate power application, can affirmatively select the gear, and can step on the clutch as needed to stop application of power.
I Jeep, therefore I am.