Driving in the winter up north

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Northern light
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby Northern light » Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:40 am

toolcrib wrote: Your description of the weather in your area explains a lot about your push for winter tires and studs.

Winter tires if temperatures are "low", studs against icy conditions (I don´t think germans and most americans need the later).

Someone who claim driving on tires hard as hockey pucks at freezing point is a matter of training and experience only prove they lack both.

Salt is awful. It ruins your car, and even if it melst ice at -4 degrees celsius, it only levels it out so it becomes a hockey rink when it turns -14 (C) in the night. Then you can hardly even walk on it. Gravel is a better pick.


toolcrib wrote: 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.

But even though you have bad apples (like all), most seem to keep speed limits and drive pretty safe. Here people often drive +30% speed limit, and using indicators is dropping 10% per year last decade. Driving behind someone who suddenly brakes sharply to make a turn is "interesting" when it is icy.

toolcrib wrote: 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.

They are the best, wins all the tests in car magazines around here. There are swedish tires (Gislaved) but they are not anywhere near Nokian. As a note, German Continental seems to be the best pick for family car summer tires. Wich is why I bought a set.

kombat
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby kombat » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:36 am

Northern light wrote:Salt is awful. It ruins your car, and even if it melst ice at -4 degrees celsius, it only levels it out so it becomes a hockey rink when it turns -14 (C) in the night. Then you can hardly even walk on it. Gravel is a better pick.


Wow. OK, with that one paragraph, you just lost all credibility with me, with respect to winter driving.

I live in Canada. Trust me, I know winter driving. Every year, we drive to my family's home at Christmas. This is a 1,300 km drive, from Ontario to Nova Scotia, so I'm crossing through 4 provinces. 3 of them salt their roads (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia), and one uses sand instead (New Brunswick). The drive through New Brunswick terrifies me.

Sand is USELESS in bad winter weather. All it does is makes the snow dirty. It's horrible. I cannot express strongly enough how pathetic it is, compared to salting the roads.

Salt is effective down to -20, not -4 as you erroneously state. And the melted snow/ice doesn't just sit there, waiting for it to get cold enough for it to refreeze again. It's constantly getting thrown up into the air as vehicles drive over it, which vaporizes it and causes it to go away. Eventually, the road ends up dry. Sure, there's a little salt residue, but I'll take dry pavement with a thin film of salt over a road covered in sandy snow any day.

Besides, even if it did "refreeze overnight when it drops to -14" as you claim, surely you understand that during the DAY, while the show is melted by the salt, is when the vast, vast majority of vehicles need to use the road anyway, right? Who cares if the road is a sheet of ice at 3:30 AM (besides the one poor guy driving on it)? As long as it's clear during rush hour, when 200,000 cars pass over it, isn't that a worthwhile tradeoff?

Northern Light, some of the things you're posting on this thread make me wonder if you're trolling. It's absolutely nonsensical.

brad
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby brad » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:04 am

In Québec we are required by law to use snow tires in winter; if you're caught without them you get a fine. Our version of Consumer Reports, Protégéz-Vous, does extensive tests on snow tires every year and reviews the current models. Michelin's X-ice is probably the best currently; they rank higher than Nokians in part because Nokians are noisy. I have the X-ice on my car and they're amazing; I recently came back from a 1,400-km road trip that involved snow, freezing rain, and icy roads on very steep hills in remote areas of Vermont and New Hampshire, and they performed better than any snow tires I can remember (I drove on Nokians for more than 10 years). The new range of snow+ice tires are good all-rounders, having better grip on ice as well as snow, plus they last longer than previous generations of snow+ice tires (which tended to wear out quickly due to the softer tread for gripping ice). The Protégéz-Vous reviews separate tires into those that are best for urban use, those that are best for long tours on highways in winter, and those that are best for rural use.

I agree that salt is great, despite the damage it causes to your car. It's not used on dirt roads (which are very common in Vermont and some parts of New Hampshire); instead gravel is used there but you usually get enough grip. But on paved roads I prefer having them salted.

Northern light
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby Northern light » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:33 am

brad wrote: Michelin's X-ice is probably the best currently; they rank higher than Nokians in part because Nokians are noisy

Michelin ranks high over here aswell, I have read they last longer than most others. And yes - Nokians are a bit noisy. A result of more traction I guess.

What is "best" depends what you value. Wet road, dry road, icy road, breaking, turning...

TripleE
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby TripleE » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:46 am

I went to college for 4 years in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where 4 feet of snow was called "Tuesday". The town I was in was rather hilly (like San Francisco hilly), and I drove a series of late 70's sedans and station wagons. I did fine without chains, studs, etc. and only had all weather tires.

The area used a combo of salt and sand on the roads, and it was wonderful.

For reference, this video was taken about 5 blocks from the house I lived in my junior year[0].

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeqG0CqzHq4

~EEE~

[0] That bridge in the distance is a neat little engineering wonder, btw. It's a double decker lift bridge in the warm weather (instead of a drawbridge), and in the winter, is permanently lowered. The top lanes are for cars, and the bottom lanes sit on the ice and allow safe passage for snowmobiles.

DoingHomework
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby DoingHomework » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:05 am

You guys are making me glad to live in Arizona. It's been in the 80s this week. We get snow now and then but we just stay home and enjoy it.

People actually DRIVE in that stuff?

brad
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby brad » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:51 am

DoingHomework wrote:People actually DRIVE in that stuff?


Better yet, we even have ice roads up here. There's a ferry in summer between the Québec towns of Hudson and Oka, and in winter that same route is plowed and marked as an ice road -- cars and trucks drive across it all winter as soon as the ice is thick enough to be safe.

When I lived in Vermont I was five miles up a dirt road so steep that pickup trucks carrying lumber routinely lost their loads when they shifted down outside my house to make it up the final few hundred feet. I did just fine with a Honda Civic and Nokians. Mud season was actually more of a challenge, because I had to be very careful to keep the Civic from dropping into the ruts, which were deeper than axle height so the car would get stranded if I ended up there.

alohabear
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby alohabear » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:48 am

Wow, y'all are really making me miss winter. (Not.)

DoingHomework
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby DoingHomework » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:12 pm

alohabear wrote:Wow, y'all are really making me miss winter. (Not.)


You mean when I visit your fine island later this month I won't need tire chains? And no parka? Shucks.

alohabear
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby alohabear » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:18 pm

DoingHomework wrote:
alohabear wrote:Wow, y'all are really making me miss winter. (Not.)


You mean when I visit your fine island later this month I won't need tire chains? And no parka? Shucks.


Well, we are experiencing a cold weather event. It dropped below 70 last night. I actually had to shut the windows!

VinTek
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby VinTek » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:22 pm

What is this "snow" you all speak of?

DoingHomework
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby DoingHomework » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:38 pm

VinTek wrote:What is this "snow" you all speak of?


I believe I can explain in a way that a Losangelean can relate to: It is what you would get if the smog clumped together and fell to the ground. It's colder too.

VinTek
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby VinTek » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:28 pm

DoingHomework wrote:
VinTek wrote:What is this "snow" you all speak of?


I believe I can explain in a way that a Losangelean can relate to: It is what you would get if the smog clumped together and fell to the ground. It's colder too.

What a brilliant way to dispose of air pollution! We could simply sweep our smog up! And with our hot summers, it would be a wonderful way of cooling things off! How do do we get some of this "snow"?

brad
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby brad » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:32 pm

My standard response to people who said they were lucky to not have snow was "at least we don't have to deal with earthquakes, hurricanes, huge wildfires, or tornadoes," but that's not true anymore. We had two earthquakes here in Montreal this year, tornadoes in the region, Hurricane Irene last year, and the last few summers have seen some big fires up in northern Québec that sent smoke clouds all the way down here and made the air hazy.

DoingHomework
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Re: Driving in the winter up north

Postby DoingHomework » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:47 pm

brad wrote:My standard response to people who said they were lucky to not have snow was "at least we don't have to deal with earthquakes, hurricanes, huge wildfires, or tornadoes," but that's not true anymore. We had two earthquakes here in Montreal this year, tornadoes in the region, Hurricane Irene last year, and the last few summers have seen some big fires up in northern Québec that sent smoke clouds all the way down here and made the air hazy.


Shhh...don't tell anyone but, in Arizona we have it pretty good. Only enough snow to make it fun, and it's usually restricted to the mountains where you can voluntarily go to it to ski, sled, or have snowball fights; only minor earthquakes every century or two; occasionally the remnants of hurricanes but that's it; "tornadoes" have started to be seen but they are nothing like the twisters I've seen as a kid visiting relatives on the Plains. And no smog if you stay out of the Phoenix area.

Ok, we have wildfires. And hot summers. But it's a dry heat...and there is a/c.

Did I mention we have low taxes, low utility rates, and low cost of living too?


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