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Old 12-30-2012, 08:57 AM   #77
Add Lightness
Member#: 13699
Join Date: Dec 2001
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Hopkinton, MA

Ok, after driving home from the Mass Tuning underground garage meet last night (who the heck brings an NSX out in a blazing snowstorm......?) I was able to remember some facts about snow. When I left Boston, it had turned to rain, and I was heading west on the turnpike, which is normally 3 lanes. For the first 10 miles, this quickly turned to snow with about an inch of slush in the lanes where tires had not splashed it away.

While on slush: Be ready for cars in the next lane to hit the slush and obliterate your vision. Also remember that as you veer slightly out of the traveled lane, slush will pull you into that direction. More slush, more pull.

Lanes disappear. As I got farther west, it became all snow. This is both good news and bad news. Good news because now, traction is relatively consistent with only the depth of the snow being the thing to watch for. Unlike slush, you can at least see this. The bad news is that the most heavily traveled lane becomes 1 or 2 lanes and they meander around. So if you pull into a far left or far right lane to be in unworn snow (with the advantage of consistent traction and predictable handling, the worn lane can (and did) merge over to where you are. So while I was able to go 40 on the snow, the other cars in their catepillar line going 25 merged right into my lane. Be aware. Be ready to merge in and then divert the other direction to get open snow.

Off ramps and secondary roads: I found that these were both well cleared, but were still slick from the few cars out melting the snow, creating ice. This is where you may want to stay off the worn line for both consistency and more traction. On smaller roads, the plowing job can be very inconsistent. We had great, clear roads and then as a town line came, 3 inches of snow since the last plow passed. In addition, you will get little mini snow banks from driveway plow trucks and from the town trucks clearing fast without full cleanup. If you run into roads with significant snow and tire worn ruts, think of your car as a snowmobile, where you turn and it does nothing and your only hope to really turn is to over turn and use the snow to push against the tire like a ski. When I got home, I also pulled out the snowmobile and went flying around on the abandoned roads and with only 8 inches of semi-fluffy snow, turning became a matter of letting the sled find the snow bank and using it to gain something to turn against. I was happy that my sled has a reverse mode.

Steep hills: This is where you may have no chance whatsoever. My driveway has been described here before. Short runup, then a huge oak tree that the driveway goes around and an immediate steep hill. The little CRX simply could not cut through the snow. After 3 or 4 tries, I decided to walk it. If you give it a try with something like this, you need to very quickly be in reverse mode to back down the hill. Hit the brakes much at all and your tires may lock (happened to me) and then, you're a sled, going wherever the contours take you. How bad is my driveway? My son's friend came over with is dad's explorer. He didn't make it. My explorer has a plow and brand new snows and got down/up fine.
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