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Old 09-28-2014, 06:43 PM   #1
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Driving in bad winter weather

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Ok fellow snowbirds. You've been enjoying the benefits of warm sunny weather all summer. But now the time has come where Mother Nature is making it obvious that the warm season is over. Many of us will be making the trip south to escape the brutal teeth of winter weather in the next 8 weeks. Some will go sooner, others like me usually wait til Halloween and Thanksgiving are over. You have held onto your money tightly because you know the gas bill will be astronomical plus other expenses ahead. So now it's time to go. Your driving along on the interstate smoothly and all of sudden your hit by the worst snow storm you've seen in decades. Temperatures outside are at almost freezing. The road shuts down and you have to spend the night at a rest area off the next exit. Your only saving grace is a fully charge house battery, full tank of propane, and a good working house furnace until the roads open the next day. So many RViers are completely unprepared for what Mother Nature throws at them this time of year, resulting in serious or even fatal accidents. Snowbirds are mostly the elderly and the middle aged, but also consist of other age groups as well. Thousands of RViers will be heading south over the next two months. So what will you do to make sure your snowbird travels are absolutely safe this year. Full time snowbirds you've been out there when the worst of the worst hit. When Mother Nature hits there's no turning back. Now is the time to think about safety before the first snow falls and creates dangerous driving conditions. So I for one want your input here. Your winter safety driving tips, and what you did to rough it out in the worst of winters weather. So post your winter driving stories and tips here.


1979 Dodge Tioga Class C 24 foot. 1987 Fleetwood Bounder 34 Foot.
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Old 09-28-2014, 06:53 PM   #2
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Pull over before you end up like this!

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Old 09-28-2014, 07:04 PM   #3
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Your RV, no matter what you have, bumper pull, 5th wheel or MH, handles really lousy in ice and snow. I know from experience. Pull off the road as soon as you can and find a safe place to wait out the bad weather. It's not worth loosing your RV or your life.
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:07 PM   #4
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Pull over before you end up like this!

Are they still alive in there???! Yah only a fool drives on black ice.


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Old 09-28-2014, 07:16 PM   #5
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I find truckers are a good guide here. If they slow to 25 and don't pull out to pass each other, I get in the right lane with them and stay there. Slow and steady...

Steve
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:31 PM   #6
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We didn't have an RV when this happened, but one Christmas break we were returning from visiting family and hit the remains of an ice storm in Iowa on I-35. Everyone was single file in the right lane with probably an inch of ice on the road. Every now and then someone would get impatient, pull into the left lane and accelerate to the speed limit. Next would be a big explosion of snow as they plowed into the median, doing considerable damage to their vehicle. The state patrol would stop to see if they were hurt and move to the next impatient idiot.

We made it home in good time despite the slowdown. The ice went away near the Minnesota state line and traffic returned to normal. Sticking in line with everyone else (including the truckers) was definitely the best bet.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:09 PM   #7
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Driving in bad winter weather

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Originally Posted by cimplexsound View Post
........Your driving along on the interstate smoothly and all of sudden your hit by the worst snow storm you've seen in decades.......

That's the key right there. If you can get suddenly hit like that, you weren't paying attention.

Yes, yes, I know weather can be capricious, but in truth the legendary "storm from hell that came out of nowhere" is really very very rare, outside of well known areas.

Midwest US in spring and early summer? Don't go there unless you know how to follow the weather and love tornados. Western upstate NY, around Buffalo, in cold January with a NW wind? Don't go there unless you're prepared for full whiteout conditions and snowfall rates on the order of 5-6 inches per hour.

When I was still flying I was well skilled and well paid to fly airplanes into undesirable weather conditions. I also had a large support network behind me and around me full of other skilled people - lots of them now on this forum - who made it safe and relatively easy to do so. When I had my boat, and now with my motorhome, people ask why I'm staying. And I say "because I can!" If it ain't fun, I ain't goin'!

There's nobody watching out for you but you. You're the Captain, you're supposed to be the grown-up here. You MUST pay attention to the weather, and you MUST be willing to defer departure, delay en route, or divert.

It's just that simple, people.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveLevin View Post
I find truckers are a good guide here. If they slow to 25 and don't pull out to pass each other, I get in the right lane with them and stay there. Slow and steady...

Steve
Except when they are lined up nose-to-tail like circus elephants, doing 25, six feet off the rear of the trailer in front, crawling down a hill at 2 mph, (ever tried to steer at that speed?) white knuckling the steering wheel, telling everyone who may dare to pass them "You better slow down," Will see him piled up," "You are gonna kill us all," Gonna wrap that set of joints up and close the road," and more. Then you get the flatlanders...Or the Fed-Ex Ground clowns.

I forgot about trying to get up a hill with no momentum.

The current up-and-coming crop of steering wheel holders don't have a clue about winter driving unless their GPS tells them how to.

But their trainer told them how to do it all...Except the trainer only has six months experience.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:18 AM   #9
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My dad drove years ago over the mountain passes in Washington every weekend - in a rear wheel drive '81 Chevy Caprice. What he found is the front wheel and 4 wheel drives were by far the most common to see in the ditch.

Reason?

Their perceived better traction meant that they traveled too fast for conditions. They forget that braking and such is no different. Steering in a 4WD can sometimes even be worse as I found in my late teens in snow country when spinning doughnuts in the parking lot and how to best get out of a skid. Rear wheel drive will fishtail when traction is questionable and you have a much better sense of conditions.

I agree that there is also a point where driving too slow can be a problem, such as ice on a banked corner. Sometimes you are in the situation and have to keep going to find a safe place to pull off.

Our state requires rigs to carry chains in snow season and often rigs over 10,000 GVW have to chain up at times that passenger cars only need to have traction tires (snowflake symbol). Not so much fun to do in an RV.

For me, the RV stays in the valley and doesn't cross the mountains from mid November to mid march. If I want to play in the snow, I take the Subaru Outback. There are folks that snow camp but the extra protection of a 5 star crash rating makes staying in a hotel and taking the Subaru more appealing.

I see a lot of snowbirds on the highway after 11/1.

Drive safe!
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Old 09-29-2014, 04:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFXG View Post
That's the key right there. If you can get suddenly hit like that, you weren't paying attention.

Yes, yes, I know weather can be capricious, but in truth the legendary "storm from hell that came out of nowhere" is really very very rare, outside of well known areas.

Midwest US in spring and early summer? Don't go there unless you know how to follow the weather and love tornados. Western upstate NY, around Buffalo, in cold January with a NW wind? Don't go there unless you're prepared for full whiteout conditions and snowfall rates on the order of 5-6 inches per hour.

When I was still flying I was well skilled and well paid to fly airplanes into undesirable weather conditions. I also had a large support network behind me and around me full of other skilled people - lots of them now on this forum - who made it safe and relatively easy to do so. When I had my boat, and now with my motorhome, people ask why I'm staying. And I say "because I can!" If it ain't fun, I ain't goin'!

There's nobody watching out for you but you. You're the Captain, you're supposed to be the grown-up here. You MUST pay attention to the weather, and you MUST be willing to defer departure, delay en route, or divert.

It's just that simple, people.
😄


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Old 09-29-2014, 04:25 AM   #11
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Driving in bad winter weather

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Originally Posted by RRR View Post
Except when they are lined up nose-to-tail like circus elephants, doing 25, six feet off the rear of the trailer in front, crawling down a hill at 2 mph, (ever tried to steer at that speed?) white knuckling the steering wheel, telling everyone who may dare to pass them "You better slow down," Will see him piled up," "You are gonna kill us all," Gonna wrap that set of joints up and close the road," and more. Then you get the flatlanders...Or the Fed-Ex Ground clowns.

I forgot about trying to get up a hill with no momentum.

The current up-and-coming crop of steering wheel holders don't have a clue about winter driving unless their GPS tells them how to.

But their trainer told them how to do it all...Except the trainer only has six months experience.
Yep. I am quite familiar with the experience of spinning your wheels in the snow and not going anywhere. LOL So thank you. Your point is well said. If it's to dangerous to go anywhere. Just stay there.


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Old 09-29-2014, 04:45 AM   #12
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Tire chains??

How many recomend getting a set of chains before heading west this winter. Planning a Michigan to California trek this December. Would like to go I-70 through Colorado, the canyon west of Denver is what I am concerned about. Even I-40 at that time of year might be a chain required route. In 2009 east bound we spent a day waiting for the snow to melt between Ash Fort and Flagstaff. Then it was 25 mph nose to tail when it opened back up. Seen lots of chains laying on the road that were thrown by the trucks. No way to stop and pick them up, we were going single file.

Just Another Old Doggy, Don
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Old 09-29-2014, 04:51 AM   #13
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How many recomend getting a set of chains before heading west this winter. Planning a Michigan to California trek this December. Would like to go I-70 through Colorado, the canyon west of Denver is what I am concerned about. Even I-40 at that time of year might be a chain required route. In 2009 east bound we spent a day waiting for the snow to melt between Ash Fort and Flagstaff. Then it was 25 mph nose to tail when it opened back up. Seen lots of chains laying on the road that were thrown by the trucks. No way to stop and pick them up, we were going single file.

Just Another Old Doggy, Don
Depending on what part of CA your going through it might be better to head south and take I-10 through Phoenix. The mild desert weather is often a blessing this time of year. Personally I wouldn't go anywhere near the Colorado mountain pass in winter.


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Old 09-29-2014, 04:53 AM   #14
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I agree, I have been through some truly frightening storms in Colorado, wouldn't do it ever again given a choice.


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