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message 1: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 2914 comments Living a few yards from the sea in South Devon, this isn't a problem I have to face. In the seven years we've lived in this house only once have we woken to find a layer of snow on the drive - and that had disappeared by lunch. But my son lives in the frozen wilds of Oxfordshire and is affected most years.
The main roads are gritted and kept clear, but he has to drive for about a mile along a narrow country lane.
The metal-studded Skandinavian type snow tyres would be over the top. I've been looking at snow chains. There seems to be several types and there's even a design made of a heavily-ribbed cloth material.
If they are easily fitted/removed - and they work - it might be on for him to fit them at home, drive to the main road and take them off again.
Does anyone have experience of these things?
What did you do in Canada, Patti? I suppose you had proper snow there and made use of winter tyres?


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22174 comments Talking to people who've driven in places like Canada and also in the UK there is one big problem that in the UK you very rarely drive on snow.You drive through snow which forms a thin layer over sheet ice.

Remember that for a lot of places where they have snow it snows and the snow lies there for weeks or months. With us the snow falls, half melts, freezes, thaws, freezes, snows again....
It's not the snow that's the problem, it's the layer of slush over sheet ice which is a beggar to drive on


message 3: by Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (last edited Jan 31, 2015 05:02AM) (new)

Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments Having worked in Scotland and living in England, I've invested in winter tyres for my car. Everyone goes "BMW's are terrible in snow". In my experience, even without winter tyres would still get through when front wheel drive cars were stuck. Living on a hill has given me ample opportunity to see this in action. If there is one thing that most people get wrong it's using to high revs.

When people drive up our road when it is icy, as soon as the feel the slightest slip they hit the gas pedal. This causes wheelspin and slows the car even faster as it loses momentum. It also makes the driver panic and apply the brake. Even with ABS the application of brakes is usually too hard and locks the wheels again.

The answer is gently does it. Slowing down gives you progress. Also, don't get too close to the car in front, as your expected braking distance is not what you think. Triple it.

Here is an interesting video on the advantages of winter tyres over four wheel drive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l2cMl...

It is interesting to note that the only times I've been in danger of having a collision with another car in snow has been when 4WD cars have been driving too close to the rear of my car. Most of these drivers do not understand that when they are accelerating they have an advantage, but when they are braking they are at a disadvantage to high performance cars that have superior braking even in snowy conditions. Even more so with winter tyres.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Back in the day, everyone would have two sets of tires. Snow tires and summer tires. Hassle having to change them every few months.
Most people just use all weather tires.
And yes, Geoff is correct. How you drive is much more important than what sort of tire you've got on your car.
Jim, most of our country roads aren't paved. You're driving over packed snow and ice for most of the winter. Occasionally they'll throw some grit down on them, but the real effort is put into keeping the highways clear.


message 5: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 2914 comments Do you keep them on the car for the whole of the 'winter' (whenever that is), or swap them over when snow is forecast?
It was devices like these that I was wondering about: https://snowchains.co.uk/snowchains/


Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments I purchased some second hand rims off ebay and had the winter tyres put on them. They then get swapped in April and October. My local tyre guy stores the other set.

I understand that you cannot use snow chains with alloy wheels. Before buying the rims I had a set of these. http://www.autosock.co.uk/ . These worked really well when I was working around Sheffield, but when I started working in Scotland I decided to go for the tyres.

If you think about it, winter tyres do not add much to the cost as the normal tyres last twice as long. Also, remember that normal tyres are only rated down to 8 degrees centigrade, after that the rubber compound becomes too rigid and therefore less effective.


Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments Patti, until three to four years ago the insurance companies would not allow us to fit winter tyres on our cars in the UK. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it may have been something to do with the idea that you shouldn't go out in the snow at all.


message 8: by Katy (new)

Katy | 3414 comments In my 'emergency' kit in the boot of my car, I have liquid snow chains - Spray on Tyre Chain Liquid Snow Chains by Stac Plastic http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004GXJE18...

No idea how good they are as I've never used them (if it snows I either don't leave the house as I can't get up the hill anyway, or someone else drives!) but they could be an option?


message 9: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 2914 comments Katy wrote: "In my 'emergency' kit in the boot of my car, I have liquid snow chains - Spray on Tyre Chain Liquid Snow Chains by Stac Plastic http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004GXJE18......"

Thanks, Katy. I'd never heard of it, but at that price it must be worth a go.


message 10: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 4053 comments Geoff (G. Robbins) (The noisy passionfruit) wrote: "Patti, until three to four years ago the insurance companies would not allow us to fit winter tyres on our cars in the UK. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it may have been something to do with the..."

Geoff - really? Most insurers used to expect you to notify them if you fitted winter tyres because it was seen as a modification. Some charged an additional premium. But I'm not aware that any insurance company has ever not allowed us to fit winter tyres. Indeed, it's mandatory in some European companies to have winter tyres and your insurance would be deemed not valid if you drove without them.

More recently, most insurers have moved to allowing winter tyres without additional premium - some even give you a reduction. But it's a good idea to check with them first.


message 11: by Mo (new)

Mo (mobroon) | 797 comments I have all weather tyres on my car. I live in Scotland and have always found them fine. I do not need to change them but I do get a few miles less to the gallon than normal tyres. Because they are not winter tyres I dont have to notify the insurer.


message 12: by Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (last edited Jan 31, 2015 07:19AM) (new)

Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments Mo wrote: "I have all weather tyres on my car. I live in Scotland and have always found them fine. I do not need to change them but I do get a few miles less to the gallon than normal tyres. Because they are ..."

Mo, this video is what made me fit winter tyres rather than all-weather tyres.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2wTg...

Will, about five years ago, a friend was advised that he would invalidate his insurance if he fitted winter tyres. Just checked with him for the details, it was a major car insurance company that was in the east of England and changed their name. They had changed their name when this incident occurred.


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22174 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "Jim, most of our country roads aren't paved. You're driving over packed snow and ice for most of the winter. Occasionally they'll throw some grit down on them, but the real effort is put into keeping the highways clear. ..."

I suspect your country roads will take a lot less traffic than ours :-)
I've never driven over packed snow in a car, (like we'd ever get packed snow here, we get ice :-( ) but I've been told that once it's properly packed it's not too back provided you're sensible on corners
But the person who told me that was a Canadian who refused point blank to drive on UK roads in the snow because the other drivers were idiots.

And I agree with Geoff, just wander along at low revs. At high revs all you do is polish the ice!


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Fewer drivers on the roads, for sure!

And a very sensible Canadian.


message 15: by Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (last edited Jan 31, 2015 08:41AM) (new)

Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments With snow chains they are exactly what they say, snow chains. They have to come off when the snow goes. I suspect, like snow socks they are designed to get you from snow to roads that have no snow.

My understanding is that they do not work where there is no snow.


message 17: by Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (last edited Jan 31, 2015 08:48AM) (new)

Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments Also, winter tyres aren't just a matter of different compounds. The tread is designed to keep clear of snow and also have 3d sipes that assist grip on snow and ice.

Sipes. http://tires.about.com/od/understandi...


message 18: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments Geoff (G. Robbins) (The noisy passionfruit) wrote: "Having worked in Scotland and living in England, I've invested in winter tyres for my car. Everyone goes "BMW's are terrible in snow". In my experience, even without winter tyres would still get ..."

You are very right Geoff, it's bad driving that causes a lot of trouble in the snow and people driving far too close, not giving the car in front enough room or time to get safely down the hill/ road whatever it is. what folk don't seem to realise is that if you hit ice you will slide no matter what vehicle you are in. I have known more people end up down ditches just because they don't watch their speed or don't give the car in front enough room.


message 19: by Lynne (Tigger's Mum) (last edited Jan 31, 2015 10:24AM) (new)

Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments Where we are in France is at 550m, there is a sign on leaving the village (ascending)that is opened in snowy weather to say snow chains obligatory. From observing and listening to the language of the motorists I would say that fitting snow chains was neither easy nor clean.
If you ever watch the programme Ice Road Truckers they make it look much easier.


message 20: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 2914 comments Yes, Lynne, that's what I was bothered about. In principle, snow chains (or socks) sound the sensible solution. Slip them on, drive the mile to the main road, and slip them off again - but if it means being on hands and knees struggling in the snow with freezing fingers for 10 minutes, it may not seem such an attractive idea.


Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments I'm afraid that's the reality. My boss went skiing and took his car, he really did grumble about getting filthy. It can be dangerous at the side of the road with other cars passing.


Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments B J wrote: "Yes, Lynne, that's what I was bothered about. In principle, snow chains (or socks) sound the sensible solution. Slip them on, drive the mile to the main road, and slip them off again - but if it me..."

The good news is about snow socks is that they go on relatively easily and come provided with a pair of gauntlets. The bag can also be used to kneel down in front of the wheels. To take them off you just pull on the two straps, roll forwards a foot and repeat. They then come off easily. When you get home you put them in the washing machine and they are ready for next time.

The bad news is that if you are using a four wheel drive or rear wheel drive vehicle you need two pairs. Why would a 4WD need them, I hear you say. A friend of mine fitted them to the front wheels of his Honda Civic and drove down the road past a neighbour who couldn't get his big 4WD of his drive.


message 23: by Pete (new)

Pete Carter (petecarter) | 637 comments BJ - a lot of discussion on your question but no direct answers. My advice would be to forget snow chains and get a 4x4. Wheel loading is important in ice, so fuel consumption permitting, a bit of weight helps. I have a RAV4 (17 years old, still in top condition, although it has cost me £8.60p in repairs over the last 5 years). It does 30-32 miles per gallon, has a diff lock button that I've only had to use once, and have never got stuck in the snow. But then I'd been driving long before we joined the EU (without my consent) and in those days we had real snow and learned how to deal with it.

I disagree strongly with Geoff about high performance cars having better braking in the ice. I've also owned a Supra and it was total crap in winter - the weight loading on the wheels was stupidly low because the tyres were so fat it had very poor traction. Yes, on a dry road performance brakes can stop on a sixpence. ABS is now standard and works okayish on wet roads. But if you're in a skid on ice, forget brakes, steer gently away from the skid and maintain a steady throttle. Don't brake, don't accelerate, and just hope the road has a gentle camber that doesn't tilt you into the bank.

As everybody says - it's not the snow - it's the ice underneath. Just pretend your throttle pedal has only 1/2 inch of movement and even ice isn't such a problem, once you learn to decelerate without using brakes and don't go fast.

I was really disappointed on Friday. We had our first dose of snow - about 3". Our local road from Sandy to Bedford has a few very foreseeable twists and turns. Usually, at the slightest hint of icy weather, I enjoy inspecting the undersides of cars in the ditches near these bends. They're nearly always 1.1 hatchbacks, have big bore exhausts and custom alloys, bless 'em. Alas, there were none this week. Perhaps the local lads are learning.


message 24: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 2914 comments Thanks for all the advice, folks.


Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments My comment referred to performance cars with winter tyres, BJ. An awful lot of 4x4 cars suffer because they have a high centre of gravity. Also, they have an increased crash incidence because of nut problems.


Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments Do you mean the nut behind the wheel? Lots of cars have those.


Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments Lynne (Tigger's Mum) wrote: "Do you mean the nut behind the wheel? Lots of cars have those."

My point exactly.


message 28: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments Lynne (Tigger's Mum) wrote: "Do you mean the nut behind the wheel? Lots of cars have those."

Nice one Lynne, I spend half my time pulling people out of snow drifts because of the nut behind the wheel !


Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments I just hope my husband can get home safely tomorrow, he said he followed the snow plough on the French motorway for miles today. He's just outside Paris and the forecast tomorrow for that region isn't good.hes in a
Jeep and bought new tyres a month ago. You can't use chains on it as there are sensors in the wheels.


message 30: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments I'm sure he will be fine Lynne, But I understand you worrying, I always worry till I know they are all home safely when it snows, it's a Mum thing I think.


message 31: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 2914 comments It's a Dad thing, too.


message 32: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments I'm sure it is BJ and Dads are worse when it comes to their little girls, no matter how old they are!

And quite right too !


message 33: by ✿Claire✿ (new)

✿Claire✿ (clairelm) | 3056 comments We used snow socks a few years ago for the ambulance, I believe they were fairly easy to fit to the wheels and the only real scrabbling around came from trying to dig the wheels out of the pile of snow they'd ended up in. I've got some of the liquid snow chains, haven't had to use it yet though.


message 34: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments A friend of mine used to drive constantly in the hills over snow for work ( a professional hang gliding instructor) and he always told me that the best snow car he ever had was a 4WD Fiat panda. The thin tyres cut through the snow to grip, whilst the 4WD kept going.

Having had years of experience of driving in heavy snow in the pennines, it isn't really having a 4x4 that matters but snow driving technique. As Geoff says, low revs but keep momentum.


Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments Theres a wonderful story one of the top rally drivers told about two nuns in a 2 CV keeping up with him. They too are amazing with their thin tyres. The maddening thing is that you can be prepared and do everything right but if the road is blocked by abandoned cars, no vehicle even the the snow ploughs can get through.


message 36: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 4093 comments Never had too much trouble with snow; Sand was a different story when driving on beach in Namibia & took me completely be surprise!!


Geoff (G. Robbins) (merda constat variat altitudo) (snibborg) | 9052 comments Lynne (Tigger's Mum) wrote: "Theres a wonderful story one of the top rally drivers told about two nuns in a 2 CV keeping up with him. They too are amazing with their thin tyres. The maddening thing is that you can be prepared ..."

Which is why I stay away from motorways and busy trunk roads when it snows.


message 38: by Lynne (Tigger's Mum) (last edited Feb 03, 2015 02:09AM) (new)

Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments The worst I had was on black ice in my Land Rover, it started to slide like a giant toboggan, I could do nothing only steer gently and pray. It slid down the side road into the main road, fortunately there were no other cars, the back end slipped round and I ended up perfectly parked parallel to the kerb but not touching it. Whew.! I got out of it once on ice and slid right underneath it. Husband didn't know where I was, I totally disappeared from view, It was really funny.
,


message 39: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 4093 comments Black ice can be scary - lucky for you that no other traffic was coming. My worst black ice experience was on dark morning on way to Bristol on duel carriageway. Doing around 60mph, turned wheel into gentle bend, car carried on straight, just darkness ahead, couldn't see anything apart from ground disappear in front of car. Landed heavily after free falling for a couple of seconds, scared witless. Stationary, car still running in field of cabbages, got out of car, walked back, staggered up steep 12 foot high bank, saw I'd just missed a concrete bus shelter in a bus stop layby!!


Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments That was nasty, it's very hard not to think of the 'what if' when you've had a nasty experience.


message 41: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 4093 comments Absolutely right there - thanking lucky stars doesn't even get close! Would never want to go through the experience of not knowing where i was headed after the ground disappeared again either.


message 42: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments Lynne (Tigger's Mum) wrote: "The worst I had was on black ice in my Land Rover, it started to slide like a giant toboggan, I could do nothing only steer gently and pray. It slid down the side road into the main road, fortunate..."

It's scary when you got all that weight sliding isn't it Lynne, good job you weren't hurt. It amazes me that people don't realise that on black ice everything slides no matter what vehicle it is and more dangerous when that vehicle weighs at least two and half ton. That's where driver skill comes in, mind my current car takes over and does it all for you if you haven't been on the ball and switched into hill decent or low, very handy it is too.

You were so lucky LA ! The what could is often worse than the what did I think, glad to hear you walked away shaken but not hurt. Our daughter won't drive in the snow anymore as she had a similar experience although not as bad. She has a BMW sporty type and not good in snow, luckily she is sensible and says if you are not confident in the snow then don't take the car out. A bonus is that we don't worry as much that way.

I'm sure your hubby will be fine Lynne, it's going to be a long day but try to keep busy.


message 43: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments Looking forward to driving from S Wales to Bradford tomorrow morning!


message 44: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 4093 comments Good luck, not using central wales route up to M57/M62 presumably!


Lynne (Tigger's Mum) | 5862 comments My old Land Rover didn't even have power steering, for a joke my darling gave me a bottle of milk and an exercise chart to build up my muscles! How nice. Just heard he's through the tunnel, so he's just got to travel to west wales. That is often the worst part of the whole journey.


message 46: by ✿Claire✿ (new)

✿Claire✿ (clairelm) | 3056 comments A friend of mine was once driving slowly down a road, decided it was getting to icy so went to turn round, skidded and ended up sliding down the hill, somehow missing the parked cars either side by inches and pinning his rear wheel arch on an already broken bollard. Once the AA came out and got him off the bollard, there was no damage except a couple of scratches round the wheel arch!!


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments L.A. wrote: "Never had too much trouble with snow; Sand was a different story when driving on beach in Namibia & took me completely be surprise!!"

I reckon the ten years Dave spent driving in Saudi is why he's such a brilliant driver in proper Canadian snow. At least he was, the last time we were in Canada in winter.


message 48: by L.A. (new)

L.A. Kent | 4093 comments Yep, I can image that would help, even with the slight temperature difference!


message 49: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments L.A. wrote: "Good luck, not using central wales route up to M57/M62 presumably!"

Straight up the A483? Damn right I will be! otherwise i might as well go via London.


message 50: by Anita (new)

Anita | 3758 comments Lynne (Tigger's Mum) wrote: "My old Land Rover didn't even have power steering, for a joke my darling gave me a bottle of milk and an exercise chart to build up my muscles! How nice. Just heard he's through the tunnel, so h..."


30 years ago when we first had Range Rovers they didn't come with power steering, I had to almost swing on the steering wheel to turn a corner. They were real work horses then but built to last. They are very different now,beautifully comfy and so easy to drive but forever going wrong, shame that Land Rover can't get it right by now.

Glad your hubby is well on his way now, hope he will soon be home Lynne.

I would love to see Canada in the snow Patti, spectacular I bet.


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