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 Post subject: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:44 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
I have been enjoying "Car talk" (NPR) for years, really sad about them retiring. Anyway, I have always been really surprised about people in northern US seldom seem to change to winter tires for their cars during winter, even though it´s cold and icy. Over here it is law to have winter tires november-february or when conditions require it. Personally I would not drive with summer tires below freezing regardless of law.

Last couple of days it has been 5-15 degrees fahrenheit in Stockholm, today more like 20, but on the other hand it fell 10-12 (!) inches of snow today. Even people with non studded winter tires have been having trouble, I am sooooo pleased with my "heavy duty" studded ones.

Image

People living in New England, Michigan, Minnesota and so on - traffic safety?


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:37 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5372
Studded tires are banned in some states in the US. Most of those states seldom see snow so it is no issue. But Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois ban studded tires. I understand those states occasionally get snow.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:07 pm 

Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:56 am
Posts: 132
DoingHomework wrote:
But Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois ban studded tires. I understand those states occasionally get snow.


You have a dry sense of humor, don't you DH?

Most northern states I know plow the roads enough that constant studded tire use isn't necessary, at least in the cities. They also add to the wear and tear of our roads and are generally discouraged. I've known several people from Michigan and Minnesota and they saw snow driving as a skill to be mastered - and if you do end up driving onto a lake, it's probably frozen enough that you can push it off. Myself, I'm one of those silly people who drive a compact car through all but the very worst conditions, and not the worst because of visibility rather than traction. Heck, I'll ride my bicycle through a foot of snow.

Our neighbors to the north might be more snow tire friendly.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
If you have 5-15 degrees, plowing a road will not give it excellent traction. Actually, leaving a bit of snow might add some traction (especially with non studded tires). Regardless, experience only takes you that far - simply breaking a car on ice is not a skill, it´s physics in action. Lack of friction. Snow tires and ABS-system gives traction and the comfort of just breaking hard and stearing away from obstacles.

Secondly, if you want to keep roads really tidy when you get 10 inches of snow in 18 hours, you will have to plow with a steel blade pressed hard against the surface (scraping, sparks flying) 3-4 times a day. Do you think that wear less than studded tires?

I have been driving in snow 3-4 months a year for 13 years, first cars with "friction tires", that is non studded winter tires. Thought they where silent and "sufficient". When I got a family and we bought a car I went for the best studded there is - Nokian Hakkapelitta. Chesus, that is another league. Will never go back.

Talking about biking - me and the mrs have studded tires on our bikes. Front one is enough to go through the winter. Both Nokian and Continental, but Nokian is the better pick.

PS. Germany, France and multiple european countrys ban studded tires aswell. You realise the different relation to snow when those countrys get occasional snow, since the planes that start in the nordics in snow storm with 30 inch snow can´t land anywhere else in Europe if they have been geting 1-2 inch in a day... With 2-3 inch of snow in France people go 20-25 mph on the highway. STUDDED TIRES PEOPLE! DS.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:20 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
having grown up mainly in Minnesota, and living in a state that occasionally gets some snow, ok, we get a lot of snow - I disagree completely with the notion that people need studded tires on their vehicle.

It's just experience, but we never had them growing up and we don't have them now. I always got around fine and still do.* And I live on the side of a mountain with 18% grades. And we don't have AWD/4WD vehicles either.

10 inches of snow in 18 hrs, BTW, is not that much. Our snowstorm last month dropped 2 feet in 24 hrs.

I assume you're just trying to boost the economy of whatever scandanavian country makes hakkapeliittas.

*I do own one set of studded winter tires, but they are for my bicycle. I use it to get to and from work, so if snows, I can still get up and down the hill, no problem.

_________________
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:02 pm 

Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:56 am
Posts: 132
Northern light wrote:
With 2-3 inch of snow in France people go 20-25 mph on the highway. STUDDED TIRES PEOPLE! DS.


That has nothing to do with tires and everything to do with driving skill, comfort level and idiocy. A few flakes float in the air and people start braking even when the roads are still completely clear, it drives me nuts. I usually blame the warm weather transplants.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5372
Bichon Frise wrote:
I assume you're just trying to boost the economy of whatever scandanavian country makes hakkapeliittas.


Watch it man. You know they used to be vikings! And I'm not talking about the football playing wannabes either.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:12 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
Bichon Frise wrote:
I disagree completely with the notion that people need studded tires on their vehicle

In Sweden, statistics show that the risk of ending up in a deadly car accident during winter is 43% lower if you drive with studded winter tires instead of non studded winter tires. Clear as that. You don´t NEED it, and you statisstically will not die if you don´t have them - but they are much better and safer. My set cost me $540 and will probably last 3-4 seasons. Kind of cheap insurace.

Bichon Frise wrote:
And we don't have AWD/4WD vehicles either

All wheel drive will take you where 2WD cars can´t go (up some hills and out of a ditch), but it will not help you when you need to brake for another car or some kid on the road. Even though I would like to have a Subaru forester or Volvo XC70, my front wheel drive, huge shovel and bag of salt in my trunk works just fine.

Bichon Frise wrote:
10 inches of snow in 18 hrs, BTW, is not that much

Well, this is Stockholm - southern Sweden... And it ended up beeing about 16 inches yesterday evening (24 hours).

Bichon Frise wrote:
I assume you're just trying to boost the economy of whatever scandanavian country makes hakkapeliittas

Even though I like my "brothers" in Finland, and their excellent saua culture, I have to tell you no. The nordic economy is quite strong as it is.

Bichon Frise wrote:
I do own one set of studded winter tires, but they are for my bicycle. I use it to get to and from work, so if snows, I can still get up and down the hill, no problem.

The problem with bikes I feel is not the ability to starta on ice, but to turn into a corner with patches of "black ice". Studded tire in the front gives you 75% of the effect, but only 50% of the added friction and weight. I used to work out on a cyclocross on a frozen lake - that demanded studded both front and rear. Winter SPD-shoes is also to recommend when it is -8 F, the ordinary ones leads the cold from the crankset right in to your toes..!


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:15 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
I can see you guys are doing great:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp2sqrfGSPI


Last edited by Northern light on Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:17 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
More excellent driving skills from Pittsburgh:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6249iHSJsKo

This stuff "never" happens in the nordics. Winter tires, even if not studded, would prevent that.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:05 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1727
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Northern light wrote:
Secondly, if you want to keep roads really tidy when you get 10 inches of snow in 18 hours, you will have to plow with a steel blade pressed hard against the surface (scraping, sparks flying) 3-4 times a day. Do you think that wear less than studded tires?


Yes!

How many times per winter do you really get such a bad snowstorm that they must plow the roads 3-4 times/day? Maybe once or twice. The rest of the season, the plows come out, what, maybe once a week?

Meanwhile, you're advocating for MILLIONS of cars, wearing 4 studded tires each, driving back and forth on all those roads, all day, EVERY day, regardless of whether it just snowed or not, for the entire winter season. Can you really not see how that would add up to far more wear and tear on the roads than being plowed once a week?

Lots of jurisdictions prohibit studded tires. My own province (Ontario), for example. Why would they do that if they didn't actually produce more wear on the roads than snow plows? If they're proven to provide better traction (and thus, safety), why WOULDN'T they want everyone using them? Why would they ban them? Just to be mean? No, of course not. It's because they tear up the roads something awful.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:50 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
They are safer. Yes, they wear the road more than non studded. In Europe, most countries that ban them very seldom need studded tires, you could manage with ordinary winter tires (wich most germans and french don´t get, they drive 25 mph instead).

My biggest surprise is not the lack of studds, that is for more extreme condition, it´s that so few even bother to change to winter tires. The rubber mixture in "sumer tires" maked the rubber hard lika wood at the frezing point, wich give them worthless traction even if there is no ice. Winter tires are made by soft rubber, that has traction far below the freezing point. The lack of such tires is documented in the films above.

I live by the coast i southern Sweden, winter weather is typically swinging between a couple of degrees below and a couple of dregrees over freezing. When above it is very humid. This makes it potentially extremely icy, last winter many people bought studded shoes just to walk (yes, even people below the age of 50). In such conditions the need for studs is sometimes greater than at the arctic circle, where you have 14 F to -22 F most part of winter, and 5-10 feet of snow. As stated, the traction with studless wintertires in crisp, frozen snow is very good.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:07 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
Northern Light, I'm not sure what your connection is to the US, but for someone so far away, you seem to think you know what the right thing for our country is. I could care less what the hell goes down in Europe as far as health care, taxes and/or studded tires.

If I need your help with anything - and by what you post, I don't - I'll ask.

_________________
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:21 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:26 pm
Posts: 36
Northern Light,

Your description of the weather in your area explains a lot about your push for winter tires and studs. If there is constant freeze thaw with lots of humidity, then the resulting ice is extremely thin. It can also be nearly invisible. I live in southeast Michigan, and will say that we have ice like that two to three times a year. Studs do an excellent job with this thin layer of ice. Where I live, if the weather forecast indicates a possibility of heavy frost on the roadway there are salt trucks out coating the roads. I am curious as to what if any chemicals are used to keep the roads clear where you live. We have a daily freeze thaw cycle for most of the winter, but usually have low humidity for the coldest months.

I am not a big fan of salt, due to the accelerated corrosion on my cars. It does do an excellent job of keeping a layer of glare ice from forming. It will also cause snow on the road to become a slush that tires with decent tread left can shed and find wet pavement.

I also spent a portion of my life living in the upper peninsula of Michigan right along Lake Superior. The winter there did not have a daily freeze thaw cycle, it simply froze in the fall and thawed in the spring. We would not see pavement anywhere but the highways for 3+ months. No salt was used because it was to cold to work, but sand was mixed in with the snow on the roadway which added a lot of traction once the snow became hard packed. Studs on this surface did not do much good, but as you stated stud-less winter tires provided lots of grip.

I currently run winter tires, but find that where I live they are only needed a few days out of the year. They are still better than all-season tires for 3 months, but not by a large enough margin to convince the masses to buy a second set of tires. For reference, I did not grow up or learn to drive with winter tires. I only got them three years ago and that was a result of the reduced winter road maintenance by my state and local government. They even allowed greater use of studs, due to their planed cutbacks in salting and plowing.

Living in Sweden, I would have guessed that your biggest complaint in regards to US driving would be our pathetic drivers education program. There is zero effort put into teaching car control, at least when I took my classes there was not.

P.S. Nokian Hakkapelitta tires are excellent, even when not studded. I plan on having these be the replacement when my current set of winters for my Mazda 3 wears out. Probably after this winter. I have only driven on them in my friends car.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:31 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
Bichon Frise wrote:
If I need your help with anything - and by what you post, I don't - I'll ask.

And still you answer. My next tread is for you, it will be called "manners and general charm". Get you notepad son.


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