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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:04 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1768
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.

I just got back from vacation last week and reading http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Disasters-Transatlantic-Reference-Librar/dp/1921209658/ref=sr_1_25?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354914042&sr=1-25&keywords=natural+disasters was among the things I did for leisure. Frankly, I don't think there's a place on earth that's entirely safe. But at the same time, some places are better than others to be in while awaiting the inevitable natural disaster.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:21 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
DoingHomework wrote:

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


You would have never known this as my father made us keep our house blazin' hot when we lived in AZ. I guess it is all relative.

_________________
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: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:28 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
Posts: 1323
DoingHomework wrote:
Ok, we have wildfires. And hot summers. But it's a dry heat...and there is a/c.


Aye, but how much longer before you start running out of water? ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5310
brad wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:
Ok, we have wildfires. And hot summers. But it's a dry heat...and there is a/c.


Aye, but how much longer before you start running out of water? ;-)


Not long, which is why they have a plan to start having everyone drink sewage...err, I mean reclaimed water in the future. But that's after we move to Hawaii...which has earthquake, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, high taxes, high utility rates, high cost of living, landslides, and I hear it gets bombed every century or so based on recent history.

I guess all good things have to come to an end.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5310
Bichon Frise wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:

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


You would have never known this as my father made us keep our house blazin' hot when we lived in AZ. I guess it is all relative.


You must have lived in the hot part.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:53 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
No, snow does not vaporize when using salt, it changes the melting point and snow/ice becomes water. What point that water freezes again depends on the mixture.

So, yes- salt it is an effective way to clear roads fast when it is not very cold. This is a great shortcut if you don´t have capacity to clear roads from snow/ice, if it is just a little snow - and if the temperature keeps close to them freezing point. The reason salt is not used in northern Sweden is beacuse it is like peeing your pants when you freeze at 23 (F). Better at first - much worse later.

As stated, it is also an effective way to ruin cars thouth corrosion. I figure that is a bit more expensive than repaving the road every 8 years instead of 10 because people use studded tires...

Again, if people use winter tires, 1-2 inches of snow on the road is not a big problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:20 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Northern light wrote:
No, snow does not vaporize when using salt, it changes the melting point and snow/ice becomes water. What point that water freezes again depends on the mixture.


Salt:

It snows. The city spreads salt. The snow melts and becomes water. You now have wet roads instead of snow-covered roads.

It stops snowing.

Cars/trucks drive on the road, which flings the water up into the air as a mist. The air turbulence from wind and the traffic itself causes a small portion of that atomized water to drift away from the road, and over onto the shoulder. That is, less than 100% of it falls back onto the road. After a period of several hours, the road is dry.

Sand:

It snows. The city spreads sand. The snow turns brown.

Cars/trucks drive on the road, which packs the snow down into a dense, brown mass. The wind doesn't matter, because the snow isn't going anywhere. After a period of several hours, the road is still covered in dirty snow.

If the weather turns sunny later, and it's not too cold, then the sun warms the snow (because darker colors absorb light), it melts, and finally begins being flung airborne by traffic and may drift off the roadway, as in the salt case. But if it's nighttime, or overcast, the road simply stays covered in snow.

Northern light, I'm not arguing hypotheticals here. I've driven in both, extensively. I know what I'm talking about. This is how it works.

Northern light wrote:
So, yes- salt it is an effective way to clear roads fast when it is not very cold.


As I said before, salt is effective down to -20 C.

Northern light wrote:
As stated, it is also an effective way to ruin cars through corrosion.


That's one drawback, yes. My '05 car is showing growing rust on the rear quarter panels. Of course, it's got 280,000 km on it, so it's only got a couple more years in it anyway. But you're right, in "salt" jurisdictions, rust is usually the limiting factor to vehicle lifespans.

Northern light wrote:
I figure that is a bit more expensive than repaving the road every 8 years instead of 10 because people use studded tires...


Huh??? What are you talking about? Why in the world would the municipality care about rust on your car? They're not the ones paying for your car! They do, however, pay for the roads, so can you really not see why their priority would be to preserve the lifespan of the roads (which they pay for) rather than the vehicles on the roads (which they don't pay for)?

Northern light wrote:
Again, if people use winter tires, 1-2 inches of snow on the road is not a big problem.


Agreed. But studded tires don't make enough of a difference to warrant the massive damage they do to roads. And salt is far, far more effective at making roads driveable than sand.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:14 pm 
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the environmental impact of salting roads. I know that salt is a near necessity for those who insist on living where fluff falls from the sky but all that salt that gets put on the road has to go somewhere. It ends up killing plants by the side of the road, running off to streams, and so forth. I know there are salts that are less harmful but that does not mean they are not harmful.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:24 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
kombat wrote:
Huh??? What are you talking about? Why in the world would the municipality care about rust on your car?

I have the privilege to be represented by politicians elected by the people, for the people that apart from basic skills in economics take a wide ray of considerations into account before adopting policy.

The result is skepticism against massive use of salt on roads - and a law for the use of winter tires during winter.

I am really sorry to hear you do not enjoy the same quality of public administration.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:37 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
DoingHomework wrote:
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the environmental impact of salting roads. I know that salt is a near necessity for those who insist on living where fluff falls from the sky but all that salt that gets put on the road has to go somewhere. It ends up killing plants by the side of the road, running off to streams, and so forth. I know there are salts that are less harmful but that does not mean they are not harmful.


You'd think but in practice, it's not really an issue.

For one thing, you WANT plants by the side of the road to be kept in check. You want a bare, gravel shoulder, for safety, not overgrown shrubbery impinging on the roadway.

Secondly, it's simple rock salt, not lead or mercury, so it's not overly toxic. It came from the ground, and it filters back down through the ground harmlessly.

Thirdly, it doesn't even seem to really kill plants that much anyway. Personally, whenever it snows, I plow the snow from my driveway, over onto my lawn, then sprinkle some salt on my bare driveway to keep it clear in the event of any further minor flurries. The next time it snows, I plow again, but the snow I'm plowing inevitably will still contain some of that salt from the last application. But in the spring, my lawn is still healthy. The only explanation I can think of is that the melting snow in the spring dillutes any residual salt such that it drains down past my lawn, rather than sitting on top of it and killing it. At any rate, my lawn is green every year, right up to the edge of my driveway, despite my using salt.

The lives saved by having clear roads in the winter far outnumber any minor environmental concerns.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:41 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Northern light wrote:
I have the privilege to be represented by politicians elected by the people, for the people that apart from basic skills in economics take a wide ray of considerations into account before adopting policy.

I am really sorry to hear you do not enjoy the same quality of public administration.


Oh gimmie a break. Spare me the fluffy, meaningless rhetoric. The simple fact of the matter is that municipal politicians have to operate within a given budget, and within that budget is an amount for maintaining roads. The cost of replacing vehicles that may be prematurely worn out due to a little salt is not a concern of theirs, and if you really think your politicians give a rat's behind about how much it's going to cost you to replace your car when it rusts out, you're living in a dream world.

Besides, if it comes down to a car on the road with a little rust on it, or a crumpled wreck in the ditch with a shiny paint job, which is economically preferable? Clearing the roads properly, with salt, makes for safer driving, fewer crashes, and less overall expense in the big picture.


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:49 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:11 am
Posts: 192
kombat wrote:
you're living in a dream world

Sure, much have been better since the center-right government took over 2006, but I think you are exaggerating. There are still things to be done.

Replacing red light intersections with roundabouts has been costing local government around here a fortune the last 10 years. Even though lower maintenance cost, in order to make it "profitable" in the long run you need to add enviromental benefits (roundabout = lower speed), fewer accidents (payed for by individuals and insurace company) and health care (payed for by regional government, not local).

I would think looking at the big picture instead of hacking up the economy in small bastions improves overall competitiveness. Would´nt you say?


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:32 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
Posts: 1323
kombat wrote:
Secondly, it's simple rock salt, not lead or mercury, so it's not overly toxic. It came from the ground, and it filters back down through the ground harmlessly.


Well, it's a bit more complex than that. For example, the salt spray causes a lot of damage to evergreens along highways; you can see brown needles on spruces, fir, and pines for example. Inland ecosystems didn't evolve with the salt tolerance that you find in coastal species, and there's quite a bit of damage not just from direct contact with salt near roads but also the salt-rich runoff that gets into waterways and aquatic ecosystems, not to mention drinking water reservoirs (roads in reservoir watersheds are often marked with "low salt zone" warnings).


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:01 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1716
Location: Ottawa, Canada
brad wrote:
the salt spray causes a lot of damage to evergreens along highways; you can see brown needles on spruces, fir, and pines for example.


Brad, I'm not picking on you, your post was simply a convenient example of a common objection to salting roads, to which I ask:

When did we start caring more about the trees along the roads than about the people in the cars on the road?

Trees are just plants. They're a renewable resource, they'll grow back, and even if a few along the side of the road don't, who cares? Isn't it worth losing a few trees to save real human lives in bad, snowy weather?

The loony lefties are winning!


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 Post subject: Re: Driving in the winter up north
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Posts: 5310
kombat wrote:
When did we start caring more about the trees along the roads than about the people in the cars on the road?

Trees are just plants. They're a renewable resource, they'll grow back, and even if a few along the side of the road don't, who cares? Isn't it worth losing a few trees to save real human lives in bad, snowy weather?


Now wait a minute! That's easy for you to say up there where you have more trees than people. Of course you're willing to give up a few trees to save people. But down here in Arizona we have way more people than trees. I can name quite a few people I'd be willing to spare to save a few trees.

On a more serious note, and this is true...there are people lobbying for the closure of some of the forest roads here (and elsewhere) because the dust from cars deposits on the trees and is harming them. And it's not just hypothetical. You can actually see the effect. The trees closer to the road have much less dense foliage and look much less healthy than those 100 feet or so into the forest. But geez, how far do we go with all this? In the good ol' days they used to just spray them with diesel oil to keep the dust down!

I was being serious about the salt. I think I'm pragmatic about the environment. I don't like to see us do a lot of damage but I also think many people carry it too far. I was at a place on vacation once (I think it was in Oregon but not sure) where they actually had signs saying rock salt could not be used that only a special salt could be used on the walkways and paths. And it was because of runoff.


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