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Old 02-11-2009, 01:22 PM   #1
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In a weeks time we are heading towards Breckenridge in Colorado where we are going skiing for 10 days. We have booked the RV site and bought the lift tickets and we are really exited about the prospect.

With a bit of luck we won't be driving on snowcovered roads but you never know. We are quite familiar with driving normal passanger cars in snowy conditions because of where we come from, but we have no idea what this is like on a 40 foot motorhome.

We are seeking advice on what to expect should we hit snowcovered roads. We appreciate that many people will tell us that you don't go if there is snow on the roads, and although this may very well be the best advice, this is not what we are looking for. We need advice on what it will be like WHEN you drive in the snow.

We do not plan to put on snow chains on the RV, and should conditions be so bad hat this is required we will probably make alternative plans.

So what is is like? Is it like putting Bambi on the the frozen lake (remember Bambi and Thumper in the Disney movie?) or is it pretty much like driving your car? Will we have more grip in a heavier vehicle?

Plaese share your experience with us. Thanks.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:46 PM   #2
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I have never driven our coach in snow buy have driven large Trucks may times. It will drive like your car for the most part. Traction is no better because it is heavy. Just drive slow and keep a good space to brake in front of you.
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:57 PM   #3
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Hi Great Dane,
In addition to the previous post suggestion, do not use your engine brake (it confuses the antilock brakes). On slippery pavement, downshift your transmission in anticipation of the need. Let your antilock brakes work for you.
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #4
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Anne and Henrik,

I have been a professional bus driver for several years for a local Chartered Bus Company up here in the frozen north.

We bus drivers drive through treacherous conditions where snow, ice and freezing rain are common and where it is not uncommon to be "caught" suddenly in a whiteout condition.

Granted, the buses are Prevosts and weigh in at about 40,000 + lbs., but the following may help you when you drive through similar conditions.

Bear in mind where your drivetrain (engine + tranny)is in relation to the drive wheels. On Prevosts and on Diesel Pusher Motorhomes, the weight is directly over, or nearly directly over, the rear drive wheels. Thus you have excellent traction and, provided you have fairly good tread on these tires, you will not have a problem.

I have seen brand new Prevosts go over the side of a highway due to a patch of "black ice" (ice that is virtually invisible until it is too late to see) and I have seen rear wheel drive light cars go through mountain passes with lots of snow with no problems. As usual, it is most always the driver, and not the gun as you would say, that is the problem.

Having said that, I have never used chains in any mountain passes here in British Columbia, and I know of few bus drivers who have, just because of the enormous traction/weight that we have under the drive wheels at the rear of the coach.

The Sea to Sky highway, as it is called from Vancouver to Whistler, BC (sight of the 2010 Winter Olympics..don't get me started on that piece of waste of tax payer money ) is one of the tests of bus drivers during the winter time and can be challenging for both car drivers, truck drivers as well as bus drivers.

Snow is rarely the problem....it is usually some piece of ice underneath the snow that causes accidents: that along with driving too fast and too careless for the conditions present.

Like you said, if the conditions become really too bad, you probably wouldn't be driving at all! That is the best advice anyone can give to you.

Always check the weather conditions, install one of the cheap outside/inside thermometers in your rig (so you can tell when to watch for ice conditions), install a CB radio so you can listen in on drivers who have just gone through a particular bad area, watch weather forecasts for the area you are going to be driving through and drive for the conditions present:

I don't really see a problem with snow or winter driving. It just makes us better drivers driving better vehicles with more traction.

Good luck on your journey to Colorado and if you ever get this far North, give us a call.

We are based in South Surrey, BC, Canada, just North of the Blaine border crossing in the state of Washington. And yes, Monaco Mommy, please sign me up for the famous map that you have been talking about! We are based at 14302 Greencrest Drive, Surrey, BC, Canada for most of the year (still working for a living!)

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Old 02-11-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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I have driven for 4 years in snow when heading south from central BC. I have seen numerous vehicles in the ditches but have never had a problem BUT I allways try to avoid using my brakes. I am thinking of carrying cable chains for Legal reasons but don't ever plan on using them re possible dammage to the coach.
This year I had to plow through 1 1/2 feet of wet snow on ice in Tyenehead campground because they wouldn't clean the main roads. I was amaised how well the coach handled the snow. I spun my tires 2 times and then backed up 10 or so feet and ran at it again (slowly) and made it by getting up momentum on my previous tracks.
I would have prefered avoiding such situations but life happens.
Hope this helps.
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:00 PM   #6
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Hi- Chef Guy offers the best advice. I also live in the North and have driven over 30,000 miles on all sorts of snow and Ice covered roads. The coaches do extremely well if you drive defensively. Colorado weather can change very quickly, but it generally warms right after a snow, melting the ice covered roads. The roads to Breckenridge are in very good shape. Do not ever put chains on your coach. If it's that bad, pull over and wait it out. Also, treat your windshield to a coating of Rain-X or a similar product. Last year we left Colorado heading home to Montana in April and hit a severe ice storm 30 miles outside of Sheridan, Wy. Had to stop every 2-3 miles and scrape the Ice off the wipers and windshield. (forgot the rain-x). Have a good trip. Drive easy and you'll have a great trip. By the way, my wife is also Danish, born in Copenhagen.

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Old 02-11-2009, 04:16 PM   #7
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We have driven quite a lot in snow covered conditions and if given a choice obviously I would rather not, but that is sometimes not a choice. We have always used our coaches for snowmobiling here in Utah and into Idaho and Wyoming and have not experienced any problems. The weight is to your favor especially on a DP due to the engine/trans. weight being over the drive axle. Traction is excellent but sometimes can be deceiving because when you do start to slide or loose control it is a little more difficult to regain control because of the weight in motion. I definately would not use chains as I have seen a few with damage as most DPs don't have the tire to wheelwell clearance. We tow a 24' enclosed trailer up mountain passes and just be a little more cautious on curves and braking, don't use exhaust/engine brakes on slick roads. The good news is that using the RV in the winter doesn't necessarily mean you will be driving in adverse conditions. Many times the roads aren't even wet and the coach doesn't even get dirty and other times it may be great weather driving up and terrible driving home. Don't let this deter you from going and taking the coach and have a good time. Mike.
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:23 PM   #8
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For you guys that have done a lot of driving of coaches in wintery conditions, I have a question.

I grew up in the NE and started driving on snow my first year. I've never worried about snow and never even come close to having a snowy condition accident. That said, I wouldn't worry about going in a coach, it would be stopping it. Perhaps I'm paranoid, but the thought of something that big sliding, as I've slide in passenger cars petrifies me. I've been able to steer my way out of every skid in a passenger vehicle, probably because I spent time on the school parking lot in the snow, deliberately sliding the car in the snow and getting used to the feel.

One of the main reasons that I ask isn't snow at all but rain. Especially in the spring, we could get stuck someplace in our coach under rainy conditions. In fact, we drove through the fringes of a hurricane last summer. I was a nervous wreck but I knew that stopping was not an option (the hurricane was coming behind us so we kept moving. Fortunately, it didn't slide on me but the next time, I might not be so lucky.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Charlie

P.S. The coach does have ABS air brakes. I know that should help but I don't want to depend on the ABS alone getting me out of a bad situation.
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:28 PM   #9
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I drive my coach in the winter all the time. In fact I just drove from UT to Denver yesterday. We had snow on and off. Vail pass was partially snow packed and the tunnel area was a little better. Be aware the Colorado does have a chain law. I dont know what direction you will be going to Breckinridge but you will have to go over one of the pass I mentioned above. Breck is in between the two passes. If the chain law is in effect just pull over and wait. You will have plenty of notification on I-70 to know if you can proceed. They have electronic signs on the road to let you know when you have to chain up. If you proceed during the chain law & you get in a situation that you stop traffic and can not get going again you will be ticketed.

Driving in the snow is actually not all that bad. Slow down, pay attention, dont use the engine brake, use the tranny gears to help you stay slow on the downhills,and leave plenty of room for the vehicle in front of you. My rig weighs in at about 32,000 pds. You will have plenty of traction as long as you keep your speed up. That doesn't mean to go faster then conditions permit. Just remember, once you have 32,000 pds sliding you will not be able to stop it and you will be along for the ride.

You will have a great time on your trip.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:10 PM   #10
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What a fantastic response!

Thank you all for your great advice. You have told us exactly what we wanted to know. We shall keep it at a safe speed and we will stay alert as suggested.

I have said it before and I will say it again: The people on the Monaco owners forum are second to none.

Thanks everybody.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:42 PM   #11
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Just remember, once you have 32,000 pds sliding you will not be able to stop it and you will be along for the ride.

Having done "The Dukes of Hazard" in the Alpine, definitely remember to turn the exhaust or jake brake off. I'm not even sure I would down shift on smooth ice.

Drive far ahead and in slow motion.
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:20 AM   #12
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Sure makes a big difference when one is driving some one else’s or if you own it….I seem to be more careful with my money…..Book2
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:30 PM   #13
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By "Dukes of Hazard" I mean having the MH get out of line on a bridge with glare ice.

I had the exhaust brake on, and let off the throttle to coast across....until the exhaust brake activated and the MH went tail out!

I own it!!
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:55 PM   #14
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Temperence is the key. I drove the snow plow and delivery trucks in Norther New England. The big difference is that the top heavy vehicles will have a greater tendency to flip if you side slide and hit a burm. You may also get a false sense of security due to the increased traction with the engine over the drive wheels.

If you are on a wet road keep an ear tuned to the sound of the water on your wheels. If it still looks wet but suddenly gets quiet you are on black ice and its time to coast to a gentle stop and stay put until it clears.
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