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Your thoughts on possible icy Interstate travel? (1 Viewer)

David Norman

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I grew up in Michigan but was living in California before I reached legal driving age, so I never learned to drive in snow. Years later I returned home to visit my Mother for Christmas. I ended up getting stuck and needing a tow truck on Christmas Day! You cannot imagine how expensive that was. I was also stuck for 16 straight hours during this infamous storm. Since then, I absolutely refuse to get in a car if I see even a single snowflake. I will also not get on a plane that needs to be de-iced. Probably not helpful for you, Ron, but therapeutic for me.

Sorry. :)


My son was there and said it took 2 hours for him to get from work to his apartment (literally 1.5 miles) and he didn't have to touch the interstate, just city streets in a flat part of town so not even a hill to worry about. He said later he wished he'd just walked since that would have taken 20 minutes
 

Scott Merryfield

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My son was there and said it took 2 hours for him to get from work to his apartment (literally 1.5 miles) and he didn't have to touch the interstate, just city streets in a flat part of town so not even a hill to worry about. He said later he wished he'd just walked since that would have taken 20 minutes
It doesn't get that bad too often here in southeastern Michigan. If we get a storm that bad, it's best to just stay in until it blows past if you do not absolutely have to go somewhere. The roads get plowed and salted pretty quickly -- we can almost always get out the next day.

Of course, just an inch or two of snow sends you folks from down South into a tizzy. ;) We don't even break a sweat with just a few inches of snow on the roads. :laugh:
 

John Dirk

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My son was there and said it took 2 hours for him to get from work to his apartment (literally 1.5 miles) and he didn't have to touch the interstate, just city streets in a flat part of town so not even a hill to worry about. He said later he wished he'd just walked since that would have taken 20 minutes
It was really bad. It's a scary feeling to see Police cars creeping along on chains and unable to help hundreds of stranded motorists. I eventually had to abandon my car on a shoulder and walk two exits to a hotel. It was full and probably 20 of us slept in the lobby.

Jon Stewart did a hilarious [in retrospect] bit on it here. Skip to about 2:02 in the video.

 

Malcolm R

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Of course, just an inch or two of snow sends you folks from down South into a tizzy. ;) We don't even break a sweat with just a few inches of snow on the roads.
And you don't even have to go that far south. I grew up in Vermont, but went to college in New Jersey, and it was amazing to see the havoc caused by just a couple inches of snow. Cars were off the road, classes were cancelled. I couldn't believe it.

I grew up in a house about a mile out a dirt road and I still have memories of one morning after we had about 8-10 inches of snow, when the school bus beat the snow plow. It didn't bother the bus driver one bit. He just drove right up the road through that unplowed snow with no problems.

I agree with @JohnRice on tires. There are no tires that will save you on ice unless they're studded winters. Just remember to slow down, leave extra distance, and use the brakes sparingly.

I also agree that there's not much worse than driving at night in wet weather, IMO.
 
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Kevin Hewell

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Of course, just an inch or two of snow sends you folks from down South into a tizzy. ;) We don't even break a sweat with just a few inches of snow on the roads. :laugh:

Thank God for that!
 

Robert Crawford

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And you don't even have to go that far south. I grew up in Vermont, but went to college in New Jersey, and it was amazing to see the havoc caused by just a couple inches of snow. Cars were off the road, classes were cancelled. I couldn't believe it.

I grew up in a house about a mile out a dirt road and I still have memories of one morning after we had about 8-10 inches of snow, when the school bus beat the snow plow. It didn't bother the bus driver one bit. He just drove right up the road through that unplowed snow with no problems.

I agree with @JohnRice on tires. There are no tires that will save you on ice unless they're studded winters. Just remember to slow down, leave extra distance, and use the brakes sparingly.

I also agree that there's not much worse than driving at night in wet weather, IMO.
Jersey is known for having poor drivers whether it's snow or not.:)
 

David Norman

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It doesn't get that bad too often here in southeastern Michigan. If we get a storm that bad, it's best to just stay in until it blows past if you do not absolutely have to go somewhere. The roads get plowed and salted pretty quickly -- we can almost always get out the next day.

Of course, just an inch or two of snow sends you folks from down South into a tizzy. ;) We don't even break a sweat with just a few inches of snow on the roads. :laugh:

I've seen Californians panic worse over a 70 degree rain

Take your plows and salt away though and things get a lot more exciting
 

Ronald Epstein

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I’m a truck driver, and my advise is to try to avoid night travel if you can- not easy to spot possible ice on the roads when it’s dark. The advise about bridge overpasses and on/off ramps is good- they tend to get slick before the roadway does. Watch for any spray coming off of other vehicle’s tires- if you see little rooster tails, then the roads are more wet than icy. Leave yourself more room between you and the next guy. Be safe, and happy holidays.

Need some more truck driver advice...

I have avoided icy conditions by leaving during the morning.

However, the new issue is that there will be heavy rain with winds in excess of 40-50mph

How dangerous is driving under those conditions?
 

Scott Merryfield

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Need some more truck driver advice...

I have avoided icy conditions by leaving during the morning.

However, the new issue is that there will be heavy rain with winds in excess of 40-50mph

How dangerous is driving under those conditions?
I was never a truck driver, but have done a lot of long road trips (and still make the 14 hour trip from Michigan to South Carolina a couple of times a year). The heavy rain can greatly reduce visibility, and high winds can be stressful as well.

On our long road trip in October & November, we had rain from the time we left home all the way past Lexington, KY (about 7 hours worth). It meant being extra vigilant behind the wheel and leaving more room between me and the vehicle in front of me. I almost pulled over once around Georgetown, KY when the rain came down especially hard and reduced visibility to almost nothing, but kept on only because we could see on the radar that we were almost completely out of the rain -- I thought it safer to keep moving than pull off to the side of the freeway. After a couple of miles of that, the sky finally cleared.

High winds can make it difficult to keep your vehicle on the road, and you really need to watch the trucks as you pass them. On our return trip, we had a high wind advisory from soon after we entered North Carolina all the way into Ohio. I was about ready to pass a semi-truck in the mountains on the West Virginia Turnpike when a gust of wind blew him into my lane. That was quite scary.
 

DaveF

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Need some more truck driver advice...

I have avoided icy conditions by leaving during the morning.

However, the new issue is that there will be heavy rain with winds in excess of 40-50mph

How dangerous is driving under those conditions?
Youre asking about “driving in winter”. It’s basically all doable. But it can be treacherous and exhausting. And some conditions, particularly ice or blizzards, are outright treacherous.

Driving in plague-of-frogs rain. Been there, done that. It sucks.

if the rain is so heavy you have minimal visibility, youll want to consider whether to take a break or even stop overnight. Likewise, if the rainwater is sufficient to cause hydroplaning.

if the winds are pushing you around, especially if there’s big trucks also getting buffeted, same.

But with care, and being aware of your limits, and a credit card for emergency hotel room, and extra food and warm clothes packed just in case, it’s doable. And hopefully things aren’t as bad as predicted.
 

DaveF

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A risk I’m inferring: you don’t have experience driving in inclement weather.

The risks for someone with a lifetime experience of driving in varied bad weather can be different for someone who hasn’t had life teach them how to drive in this stuff.

We’re never too late to learn ... but if the weather is predicted to be dangerous, you should gauge your driving experience and whether it’s worth adjusting the trip a day or two either way to avoid dangerous (black ice) or delaying (car hydroplanes off road) situations.
 

DaveF

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Finally :)

Predicted band of severe rain and wind that I’ll drive through: I go. Maybe I’ll pull over at a rest stop or restaurant for an hour to wait as it passes.

chance of ice for a region of the trip: I go, but allow for extra overnight stay at hotel if icing happens.

Predicted huge rain storm for an eight hour drive: I probably stay home

Predicted ice storm for the entire trip: I stay home.
 

Robert Crawford

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Need some more truck driver advice...

I have avoided icy conditions by leaving during the morning.

However, the new issue is that there will be heavy rain with winds in excess of 40-50mph

How dangerous is driving under those conditions?
As a son of a truck driver, who taught me how to drive and instructed me what to do in bad weather, my advice is to gauge your visibility as you drive through the rain and pull over accordingly or slow down in speed. Be very careful when passing truck trailers whether raining or windy conditions. High winds have been known to turn over truck trailers.
 

John Dirk

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I'll just throw this out there. One of the joys of retirement is a more open schedule. Would it be feasible to plan your visit shortly after the holiday when the severe weather has [hopefully] passed?
 

Ronald Epstein

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I'll just throw this out there. One of the joys of retirement is a more open schedule. Would it be feasible to plan your visit shortly after the holiday when the severe weather has [hopefully] passed?

The problem is the frozen roads.

We are going through a freeze here as of late Christmas day and through the weekend.

So, I have a very minimal window of opportunity where temperatures are close to 60 degrees and will remain so for the next 24 hours.

Right now my plan is to leave at 6 am as the storm is still raging, but moving off the coast. I will be heading west as it heads east.

Pretty much I am going to have to gauge how bad it looks tomorrow morning.
 

Jeffrey D

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Need some more truck driver advice...

I have avoided icy conditions by leaving during the morning.

However, the new issue is that there will be heavy rain with winds in excess of 40-50mph

How dangerous is driving under those conditions?
Rain and high winds isn’t a lot of fun, but it’s more manageable than snow or ice. My advice is to create more room between you and the other cars/trucks, don’t run alongside another car or truck (meaning don’t run the same speed next to another driver in the next lane), always turn on your headlights in rain (amazing how many people still won’t do this), and if you come up on a slow down in traffic, put on your hazards (this tells other drivers of an incident ahead). Run with hazard lights if you’re going 10-15 mph below the speed limit- I always do this in the company tractor trailer.
 
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Ronald Epstein

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Rain and high winds isn’t a lot of fun, but it’s more manageable than snow or ice. My advice is to create more room between you and the other cars/trucks, don’t run alongside another car or truck (meaning don’t run the same speed next to another driver in the next lane), always turn on your headlights in rain (amazing how many people still won’t do this), and if you come up on a slow down in traffic, put on your hazards (this tells other drivers of an incident ahead). Run with hazard lights if you’re going 10-15 mph below the speed limit- I always do this in the company tractor trailer.

Thanks Jeffrey (and Crawdaddy, DaveF, Scott and John).

Will let you know how the trip turned out. Storm will start to move out by 7am. I'd like to try and get on the road an hour earlier.

Appreciate all the tips. Will keep lights on (always on anyway) and distance myself from other vehicles. No passing trucks.
 

Jeffrey D

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Another piece of advise for those who might be traveling near Washington DC after Christmas- anticipate brutal traffic. Four years ago, I visited my cousin near New York City for Christmas (it was on a Sunday then). My plan was to drive to Myrtle Beach on the 27th (Tuesday) for a golf/drink/relax trip after the visit. I-95 south through Alexandria VA was a parking lot. I got a room for the night, then drove the rest of the way the next morning. Lesson learned.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Another piece of advise for those who might be traveling near Washington DC after Christmas- anticipate brutal traffic. Four years ago, I visited my cousin near New York City for Christmas (it was on a Sunday then). My plan was to drive to Myrtle Beach on the 27th (Tuesday) for a golf/drink/relax trip after the visit. I-95 south through Alexandria VA was a parking lot. I got a room for the night, then drove the rest of the way the next morning. Lesson learned.

You keep making me come back for more questions. It's your experience.

I am planning to come back to NJ either two days before New Years, New Years Eve or New Years Day.

What do you think will be the best travel day where I won't experience the parking lot you did in Virginia/Washington? I know that area well on 95 and it often comes to a complete standstill. I think they are doing lots of expansion there so hopefully in the future that problem will be alleviated somewhat.
 

Jeffrey D

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You keep making me come back for more questions. It's your experience.

I am planning to come back to NJ either two days before New Years, New Years Eve or New Years Day.

What do you think will be the best travel day where I won't experience the parking lot you did in Virginia/Washington? I know that area well on 95 and it often comes to a complete standstill. I think they are doing lots of expansion there so hopefully in the future that problem will be alleviated somewhat.
New Years Day should be fine, especially in the morning hours (lots of people are sleeping off their booze).
 

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