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Old 10-20-2016, 05:40 PM   #1
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Winter driving


Anyone have experience with driving a Class A on snow (and ice) covered roads? I may need to drive from northern Michigan this January to warmer climates like the gulf coast. I have experience with large trucks on snow and ice but the motorhome appears to be a bit light on the rear to be stable. Don't know as I have always had good roads. Any insight or suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:02 PM   #2
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Seriously, why do that? Not the trip but the roads. I would pick the weather, stay on dry clear roads by timing my driving for when they were clear and parking when they were not. Keep more than a half tank of fuel on board so you can stay warm.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michealwhela View Post

Anyone have experience with driving a Class A on snow (and ice) covered roads? I may need to drive from northern Michigan this January to warmer climates like the gulf coast. I have experience with large trucks on snow and ice but the motorhome appears to be a bit light on the rear to be stable. Don't know as I have always had good roads. Any insight or suggestions are appreciated.
There was enough weight on the 6 standard Goodyear RV tires on my RV to make driving in wet snow across Colorado on I-70 OK in a early April snow storm this year. It tracked fine and was stable. I did have problems when I pulled off I-70 into a un-plowed gas station with 3-4" of snow on level ground. That was where not having enough weight on the rear dual tires became a problem. I could not generate enough traction to move with my toad hooked up after stopping. I had to unhook the toad to get out of that parking lot. Once I got in motion again I was fine and was able to find a clear spot to reconnect the toad and continue on my way.

If you have standard RV tires then look at their tread pattern they are not really made to be a all-season tire and be good on snow.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:23 PM   #4
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I would think that the majority of the main roads would be plowed and in good shape.

Usually, if its snowing and the roads are crap, I find a place to wait it out. I'm very, very good at driving a four wheeler on icy roads, but I don't trust my MH driving skills enough to traverse snowy/icy roads.

We spent two days in a Costco parking lot in Roswell NW a few years ago. 18-24 inches of snow, coming down hard. We were the only vehicle in the Costco lot for two days. We couldn't see 100 ft it was snowing so hard. We loved it...,
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:31 PM   #5
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Seriously, if you don't need to be there, don't do it. It's more about the black ice than anything else.

Pick your weather/road conditions, and when either start going to hell on you, just park it.

Worst case, when things get snotty while on wet roads, watch for spray coming up off the tires of vehicles going by you. When that spray disappears, you are on ice.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:41 PM   #6
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Unfortunately, yes. We caught a fluke ice storm last winter on the way to Big Bend National park. I didn't think it was possible to see ice and snow that far south, but as the pics will show, we found it!

Had to slow wayyyyy down. Roads were too narrow to turn around, plus I had a toad too. Some of the pics below show a bike tire caked up in ice--it was riding on a bike rack on the back of the jeep.

My buddy followed me in his 5wheel, and took many of these pics.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:46 PM   #7
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I can tell you that I would not choose to do this drive. There is just too much risk. Visibility was poor, and I never stopped worrying about everything from my own rig slipping off the road, to the possibility of someone else slamming into me. It didn't help that my driver's side mirror iced up beyond usability even with the heated mirror button on, and the driver's side camera iced up too. Had to pull off the road to clean them off every so often.

We saw several other cars spin off the road and really wanted to just pull over and wait it out, but the road shoulder was too narrow for safely parking, and there just weren't easy options.

Having said all of that...at slow speeds, my tires never spun at all. With all the weight of the rv on my rear axle, I didn't even spin going up the inclines. It handled surprisingly well....but again, at slow speeds and with a careful and patient driver.
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:54 PM   #8
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Living in Colorado, the weather isn't always on your side in the mountains. If you wait for a good day to do anything, it usually doesn't fall on your day off.
So, for years I have towed a 2 or 3 place open snowmobile trailer behind a 32'class a gasser up and down Berthoud pass on and ice pack. Maybe 3000 lbs. I have always expected the worst, and been stunned by how effortlessly the coach handled it. No slipping, sliding, or drama. Even coming around hairpin turns down to 5 mph, and heading up a steep hill, no wheel spin.
So, I agree with the recommendations to pick a good weather day, but don't be terrified of a little weather.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:04 PM   #9
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The problem is that if the rig does break traction and starts to slide, about the only thing you can hope for is luck trying to get it back under control. More commonly, you're just along for the ride at that point.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:35 PM   #10
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The problem is that if the rig does break traction and starts to slide, about the only thing you can hope for is luck trying to get it back under control. More commonly, you're just along for the ride at that point.
That's why I'd rather pick a parking spot before Mother Nature does. ;-)

Seriously, snow is predictable. It snows, it stops, they plow and salt/sand and the roads clear off. All one loses is a day or two. Not a big deal if one is in the process of relocating to a warmer spot as there should be no schedule to maintain.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:50 PM   #11
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Two winters ago we were heading to the southwest along I-10 in late Dec very early Jan. We hit some snow but mostly glare ice from the Texas hill country to Deming, NM. Right around 600 miles over two days. We found the rig was a bit squirrely, but it actually behaved much better than I expected. Of course the first thing to do is to slow down. We were down to 15-20mph in a number of places, but that was mostly due to traffic driving terrified, not due to road conditions or Bus handling. The Bus did tend to brake loose at the back end in the freezing rain-ice covered patches, but as long as you stayed up on the wheel and didn't wait to put in your corrections, it actually was quite easy to control. We did have one problem when we pulled into a level rest area for a bathroom stop. We just could not get it going as there were trucks all over the place and we could not proceed in a straight line to get a start. At that point, I should have dumped the air on the tag axle to increase the weight on the drive axle, but I didn't think of it. What we did was to get DW into the pickup, our 4WD toad, start it up and put it into 4WD, She fed power to the toad as I did to the Bus and we proceeded out of the rest area. The one caution we observed was that she did NOT touch the steering wheel. She let the truck follow the Bus as it does during a normal tow. Once we got out of the rest area we stopped, put the truck into tow mode and continued our trip.

Another thing you might consider is keeping your slides closed if you stop for eating or overnight. Since we were in mostly snow and freezing rain, we were concerned the slides might not come in with ice and snow on the tops of them, or they could have frozen open due to water infiltration. We just did not want to take the chance.

Along our route we must have seen 20 or more trucks off the road in the median or off the shoulder in the ditches. At least half were overturned. There were considerably less cars, pickups and SUV's off the road and disabled. Big trucks, especially doubles, are very hard to control in those conditions. In my opinion, the most danger you'll see is from people who are panicked and not the best drivers in those conditions than from weather and road conditions. The long, heavy trucks seemed to have the most problem keeping it on the road even with chains on.
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:03 AM   #12
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My Gasser MH has never been on salted roads and I intend to keep it that way. Here in the PNW I drive in a lot of rain, but no snow. When it does snow they don't use salt, but a liquid spray. Don't know what's in it, but it's non corrosive. I have driven in the snow on the east coast back in the day, however not with a MH. I prefer to wait and let the weather clear before traveling when it gets in a bad way. Funny thing is I got caught in a freak winter storm around Vancouver WA in my V12 Jaguar two seater. It was the only car moving albeit at a slower than normal speed, when SUVs and 4x4s were all over the place. The Jag was like it was on rails. I'll be headed to Redding CA in mid November this year due to family needs. Hopefully I'll be in the wet weather and avoid the snow going over Ashland Pass. Otherwise I may end up Parking it at 7 Feathers until the weather clears. I could think of no better place to get stuck for a few days. What a beautiful Park.
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:19 AM   #13
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Here in Connecticut they use a spray that is more corrosive than regular salt. Even when the roads are just wet you end up with a white crust on your vehicle. Timing to miss snow, ice, and salt in the northeast can be very difficult.
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:22 AM   #14
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Thanks to all. For those of you that live in the north country you realize snow storms are not always predictable. We do plan to time the trip for good roads but from where we live we have three days of cold climate travel to get far enough south to have rain and not snow. I am encouraged by those that have been caught on the snow to hear the coach handled well. As I said I used to handle heavy trucks (fire trucks) on the snow covered highway all the time but never had the pleasure of trying snow in a motorhome. Advice and experiences are appreciated.
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