Is 4WD safer than 2WD?
No 4WD system - no matter how sophisticated - will make driving much safer. Especially not on snow and ice. Not on rainslick roads either. 4WD safety is somewhat of a myth.
If there less traction (the stuff that happens between the tires and the ground) there is less stability to move and operate a vehicle safely. Period.
Snow and ice provide very little traction, and even though 4WD doubles the amount of traction compared to a 2WD vehicle - twice the amount of "very little" is still not much. In fact it is only about 10% to 20% of traction of what is available on dry pavement.
Reducing speed in low traction situations will improve safety - the safety of a 2WD as well as the safety of a 4WD. On snow and ice using good snow tires helps a bit, however, only chains will dramatically improve stability and safety (but they are inconvenient and noisy).
4WD was originally invented to move very heavy loads without spinning wheels on mostly dry surfaces. Or to get a vehicle up steeper grades without spinning wheels.
Today 4WD/AWD is a sales tool to make car buyers feel safer - emphasis on "feel".
4WD or AWD make a vehicle handle a bit more stable and thus a little safer. Powering all wheels adds some convenience when moving on slippery surfaces - but it does not add safety per se. No drive system, no matter how advanced, can defy the laws of physics.
For off-road use 4WD is a wonderful tool enabling you to travel under the most adverse conditions.
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