Why does a little snow bring half the US to a grinding halt?!

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by 2k1Toaster, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. longshot

    longshot Junior Member

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    Not being used to driving in it and ice for anyone is a challenge.

    cm_tenderloin ?
     
  2. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    As pointed out, it is just the general in experience with the stuff. Some people may not bother with all season tires, and just go with summers all year round. They might not even have a real winter coat. Above freezing might be time to break out the shorts in the Great White North, but down South, temps below 60F are cold for many.

    The there is the specifics of the first major storm there. Authorities for the area around Atlanta decided to take a gamble that the weather reports were exaggerating, and decided not to pretreat at all. Pretreated roads can get tricky depending on the storm type and precipitation rate. So we had untreated roads with drivers inexperienced to snow and ice.
     
  3. hkmb

    hkmb Active Member

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    I'm not sure that it is cheaper than shutting down half the country for a couple of days.

    Exactly. It's the same in China: the North-East and Inner Mongolia are designed for snow. Buildings are quadruple-glazed and have multiple porches, and there are fleets of snowploughs and gritting trucks. Shanghai ground to a halt on the day my elder daughter was born because it got about 5" of snow. But it was the first time we'd had snow lying for 50 years. It wouldn't have been cost-effective for us to have a fleet of snowploughs and gritting trucks sitting in garages for 50 years just in case.
     
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  4. Easy Rider

    Easy Rider Active Member

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    You can't solve all of life's deficiencies with "training".

    Unless maybe you require every resident of Atlanta to spend a week in Minnesota
    EVERY winter driving on ice and snow. Experience is the best teacher and often the
    only thing that makes a lasting impression.
     
  5. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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    That picture of the truck going off the road was likely driver error.
    PUMP YOUR BRAKES,if you dont have anti-lock brakes.
    Seems completely unintuitive to not slam on your brakes but you cannot steer at all when front wheels are locked.
     
  6. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

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    Nothing comes to a stop in Michigan, really. They will cancel school but the rest of us still get to work, mail still gets delivered, people drive still...

    We are getting 6-8 inches "right now". Still, I had my birthday dinner today and little get together at my house after and everybody showed in spite of the winter weather advisory.
     
  7. hkmb

    hkmb Active Member

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    Since this thread is full of Prius people who are used to snow, I have a question.

    It's five months till winter, but when winter finally comes, my daughter wants to go to the ski resorts in the unimaginatively-named Snowy Mountains (for similar imagination, see Great Dividing Range, Great Sandy Desert, South Australia, etc) to see some snow.

    I've driven FWD, RWD and AWD cars in the snow in Britain, so I'm well used to it. But are there peculiarities to driving a Prius in the snow? Will I be OK in my car, or should I rent something else for the trip?
     
  8. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    This is a function of experience. For many of us who grew up in real winter climates, this was quite intuitive from simply riding around with our parents, long before we could legally drive ourselves.

    Only after moving to the coast and carpooling with native lowlanders did I learn that they have different intuition and emergency reflexes.
     
  9. Tony D

    Tony D Active Member

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    I drove my Prius in snow last week for the first time. It s fitted with Snow/winter tyres and there were no problems on flat roads / partial inclines, but as soon as I reached a steep hill I was going nowhere. In my last car, a fwd golf with the same tyres, I flew up the hill.
     
  10. hkmb

    hkmb Active Member

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    Yes, that's what worries me. The combination of lots of low-down torque from the electric motor and the massively overenthusiastic stability control makes me think that the car might just refuse to go up hills.
     
  11. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    With a poor driver, that may be true.

    My Prius goes up and down the Rocky Mountains all the time. We use it as a ski car and it does perfectly, even on the backroads and passes. I have a 2006 which has much more twitchy traction control than the 2010's and up. But I rarely ever get the TC light to flash.

    The Prius is a great car and when paired with a snow driver, it does great in the snow.

    I just got back from 4 days in Keystone, CO. Driving up there on Friday was a white-out blizzard, no problems.
     
  12. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Tyres are the key.

    Summer tyres become useless, especially so if they are below about 5mm! I remember not being able to get up a small icy incline where other cars were fine. My front wheels were barely moving due to traction control issues. At least with a traditional car you can switch the TC off and then just floor your way up (y)

    But Canadian owners don't have issues if using winter tyres (unheard of in Oz?), so it must just be a tyre thing.
     
  13. Tony D

    Tony D Active Member

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    Here's a sample of a road that I drove with no problems in a fwd manual Golf with Good Year Ultragrips. The prius could not get near these roads the other days with only a sprinkling of snow, same tyres, but maybe a little icy rather than snow. Any time there is any snow in Ireland, I always go out driving in it, especially at night up to what's known as the Sally Gap, which usually gets closed due to the volume of snow. It's no Rocky mountains bu there are some very steep inclines where properly equiped LR defenders etc go.

    Tyres, car, driver etc are all key with regard to driving in snow. I know that we dont get much of it here in Ireland, but I would consider myself a good competant driver in alot of conditions.
     
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  14. Easy Rider

    Easy Rider Active Member

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    Just because there is snow on the mountain doesn't necessarily mean that there also is snow and ice on the roads.

    Plan to go early in the season before there is a lot of accumulation and don't plan to go TOO high up.
    Then try to find a way you can get a road report for the route you plan to take.

    Of course, most of that doesn't apply if you/she actually wants to go skiing.
     
  15. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Being RWD wouldn't have help much either. In areas which regularly see snow, there is a good chance the plows and salt trucks are 4WD.
    Learn the foot dance to turn off the traction control in case you need it off for an incline. The system should be fine if you keep the revs in check. But you should be fine with it. I had a twitchy TC 2005, and the only time I got stuck was when the snow with ruts in front of my driveway iced over.

    If Eco mode turns down the throttle sensitivity, that could help with the low end torque control.
     
  16. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    There's a difference between snow and ice.
    Some of the very best winter drivers in the world live in the South, because they don't have themselves convinced that they can drive on black ice.
    I grew up in Indiana, where we used to think that we can drive on both and with the right equipment???
    You can somewhat.
    Unfortunately, most people south of I40 don't have studded tires...or chains... or vehicles with sufficient ground clearance for >6-inch snow events...or a wintry mix of snow and ice.
    If 99 percent did have the proper equipment, knew how to use it and DID????
    The remaining one-percenters would still turn bridges and overpasses into parking lots.
    Highways just don't work well without the bridges and overpasses, otherwise they wouldn't bother with the expense of installing them in the first place. :D

    The Prius is a decent enough car on slick roads, and if the snow isn't deep it can do that as well.
    It wouldn't be my FIRST pick, because with a larger vehicle I have a limited option of getting past a few morons who are punching above their weight.
    My company car did OK but I did club up to a truck during the worst of the weather because of clearance and heft. I've had to do the same thing for the same reason during the last two hurricanes.

    Of course....I chose not to live in an ultra-densely populated area, and I'm getting ready to cut my commute from 10 miles to three, so if it gets REALLY bad????
    ...I can walk! :)
     
  17. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    Again, not a problem if you can drive.

    The Eisenhower Tunnel is at over 11,100 ft elevation (3380m). The grades are steep for a highway (6-8%), signs everywhere about "truckers don't be fooled", "you're not down yet", "are your brakes adjusted and cool?" and other signs warning that there are many miles of steep downhill, followed by many miles of steep uphill. Almost always covered by snow and ice.

    We go skiing almost every weekend. And when there is a blizzard, that means we definitely go because that's the best powder! Generally we take the backroads to avoid the excess traffic which means even more snow and ice. I carry chains in the Prius just in case but the Prius has never let us down.

    I don't really have any pictures of what we drive through all the time since that would be a bad idea to take a picture while driving in that stuff.

    This is pretty typical good day on I-70:

    [​IMG]

    And this is more typical on a normal day:

    [​IMG]

    The Prius with the right driver can be a mountain goat.
     
  18. hkmb

    hkmb Active Member

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    Thanks everyone. As I said, I have no problem driving on snow in other cars: it's just that I was concerned that the Prius might be a bit weird in the snow.
     
  19. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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