Advice for a winter roadtrip?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by damack1, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. damack1

    damack1 Member

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    I've lived in snow country in the past, and my last two cars before the Prius were SUVs (an Explorer and a Forester.) This is to say that I have driven on ice and snow in the past. Now, I live in Alabama where we seldom have ice or snow on the roads.

    I'm driving up to Virginia for Christmas to visit my brother, who lives out in the country. Snow and ice are a definite possibility, even a probability.

    Should I worry about driving the Prius? Does anyone have any tips or recommendations for winter driving that you could pass along?

    Thanks.
     
  2. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    It drives in snow pretty much like any front wheel drive car. Mostly watch out for deep snow. The Prius lacks the ground clearance of an SUV, so don't expect to wade through deep snow.

    Tom
     
  3. damack1

    damack1 Member

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    That's good to hear. I was wondering if we'd be better off taking our Ford Escort. Sounds like the two cars should perform about the same, and I'd much rather take the Prius.
     
  4. john burns

    john burns New Member

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    I'm traveling to Boston from Florida next week and I have decided to leave my nice new Prius home and take my Subaru Outback

    I am not afraid of the Prius's driveability, but why take a chance on someone sliding into it on a possible snow or ice slick road.
     
  5. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    You might want to get snow tires for it and/or carry chains (sometimes they are mandatory if you want to proceed on interstates). Put some blankets inside and carry warm clothing just in case. Standard stuff for winter travel.

    Some people love to complain about the traction control. Last night I was driving around Edmonton in snow and ice. Yup, the traction control made it slow to take off from a light. Yup, the cars behind me were left there as they were even slower to take off.

    Mileage WILL suffer. Horrors, I only got 5.6 l/100 km last night in my 40 km drive. ;) Temps were just around -22C.
     
  6. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    I wouldn't want to drive any new car in Boston, regardless of the weather.

    Tom
     
  7. Rhino

    Rhino New Member

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    Welcome to Viriginia.

    Virginia likes to put safety islands everywhere, even on the middle of the freeway. By safety island I mean something that looks like a sidewalk.

    When making left turns at night, for example, don't shortcut and cut across any lane lines unless you are sure you do not see a traffic island.

    Getting on the freeway, once you get off the on ramp, you may still be in a restricted area of the freeway. Check for a safety island like thing between your (just off the off ramp) lane and the main freeway. Change lanes only if you don't see a traffic island.

    Of course, in daylight it is all clear. Driving at night, in the rain or snow, is an adventure.

    In the snow, drive on the well trodden path. Don't say to yourself, I can cut the corner closer (snow hidden safety island). Don't be lazy. Make proper turns and don't cut corners short.

    For those of you who wants an example. Drive rt 66 east. Take the off ramp to go 495 south. Once you get on 495 south, there will be a safety island either immediately or in a tenth of a mile preventing you from joining the main 495 until later.

    I have seen cars hitting safety islands head on (wheels on the ground, safety island hitting between wheels) the frame gets bent and I think they get totaled.
     
  8. damack1

    damack1 Member

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    I'll be driving Highway 81 to Abingdon, then taking off North to Tazewell. My brother lives out in the boonies in that area. I kid you not, the nearest "community" is a place called Frog Level. The roads are generally plowed, but I'll be on 2-lane country roads after I leave Tazewell. That's the main part of the trip I'm worried about, although it's always possible to get a big enough snow that travel on the interstates is hampered.

     
  9. ksstathead

    ksstathead Active Member

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    Watch their local forecast as trip approaches. If heavy snow forecast, consider the SUV since some roads may become imPRIUSsible due to clearance.
     
  10. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator
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    Different part of the country, but we'll be making a trip from Phoenix to Northern AZ this weekend, and a possibility of snow is in the forecast. I plan to carry a set of cable type chains as well as a couple of blankets in the mix. The cables are to prevent us from getting stranded in a situation where I-17 or I-40 is passable but "chains required". The blankets are for something more drastic. And, it goes without saying, don't enter snowy conditions without a full (or near full) tank of gas. If you get stuck, your ability to run your heater will lengthen substantially w/ more fuel (at that point, who cares about MPG?).
     
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  11. damack1

    damack1 Member

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    Okay, thanks for all the tips. I'll definitely take my winter survival gear, and keeping the tank near full was something I hadn't thought of.

    You guys are the best!
     
  12. jrowell24

    jrowell24 New Member

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    After Christmas, my wife and I are going to DC from Georgia straight up I95 to our hotel right off the interstate. The travel there is the one thing I'm worried about. I hope everything works out for us because I definitely don't have snow tires or chains. We'll be traveling during the day both there and back.
     
  13. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator
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    After taking my trip up to Flagstaff, AZ last weekend, we did encounter a bit of snow, but nothing that was truly sticking to the road. Didn't need the chains in the end, but driving through Williams, AZ on icy roads meant keeping it slow and avoiding abrupt movements. The car, otherwise, did just fine.

    MPG was in the low 40's due to the hill climbing and need for heat.
     
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