This is a follow on from the man who was complaining about the poor gritting
and salting service we have here in Cornwall.
The weather is harsh , it was bad again last night where I am.
My drive and the lane are like a sheet of ice glass. I cant get a car out
nor in. I have tried shifting it with a spade but its solid. I went
looking for some salt or grit yesterday but none of the DIY stores in a 30
mile radius have any. All sold out. I even went to the supermarkets and
tried to get some ordinary cooking salt but that was all gone too.
Is there anything else I can use to cut through the ice and stop it freezing
Walk round the neighbours, see who has a chimney producing smoke and ask for
some old ash, by the bucket load. Coal ash is what you want - nice and
gritty. It doesn't have to melt the ice, it'll grind into the top and make
it go like sandpaper.
That's what I did to my drive and frankly it was better than sand.
I studded the ground instead.
Built some hardstanding a couple of years ago, where I used those
(rather expensive) plastic "grid" slabs that allow grass to grow
through them, for decorative effect.
Turns out they also have the unexpected benefit that up to nearly an
inch of snow can freeze over them, but it remains in the grass holes
and the plastic edges are still poking up between, leaving a useful
On Thu, 24 Dec 2009 10:28:32 +0000, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
JOOI, are they legal there? Very much banned here (although the law varies
from state to state), presumably because people try to drive with them
when they don't need them and make a mess of the road surface...
True but so what. Even when I lived in Switzerland I didn't bother with
snow chains, winter tyres, and the like. What's the point for a week or
so a year, unless you live in parts of Wales, Scotland, Penines, etc.
Councils in some places should perhaps have bigger salt/grit budgets
(and could usefully do more for pavements), but I see no point in
spending gobs of dish on more snow-ploughs or gritters just so they can
sit around idle for 50 weeks a year.
It's a problem here because mostly the temperature hovers near zero,
just where ice/snow/water is dangerous. In places where the temps are
much lower, cars driving along don't turn the snow into ice, and they
*need* winter tyres 5 or more months a year (so they have them).
"That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines
A Hungarian I know asked me, he was told they were illegal at the car
shop he tried to buy some from
Unless you have left your snow chains on top of your wardrobe in Milan
and you can't get that last couple of hundred metres up to the top of
the San Bernadino pass and have to pay some Swiss Bandit 50 francs to
get you to the top
That is the point at which they would have been exceedingly useful
"Snow tyres" actually M&S (Mud and Snow) are a legal requirement in just
about every bit of Switzerland between November and May.
Snow chains take all of about 3 minutes each side to fit and are really
very easy (once you've practiced in the garage on a warm day twice...)
Use marigolds when fitting as the cold from wet hands is what is so
debilitating - I can do one chain without gloves but if I manage to do
the other chain I've generally cut chunks out of my hands by then and
that really smarts once it warms up DAMHIKT
It is important to re-tension chains after a few wheel revolutions, and
again after a few hundred metres, and certainly before giving them any
welly as they'll likely snap and have your wing off and possibly the
brake lines too if you are unlucky...
The snow socks are based on 'fluffy glove principle' (TM) you remember
how your gloves would get bigger and bigger from making snowballs as the
snow stuck to the fibres and then to that snow layer? that is how snow
socks work, so in ice they are all but useless, and given that they are
fairly delicate being little more than tyvek, then extended use off the
snow will soon wreck them.
Snow chains incidentally are excellent as a Range Rover substitute in a
muddy field when proper stuck, if you haven't cut too deep a rut to
actually put them on... DAMHIKT
Neil (up a mountain in Switzerland until May :-) )
Thinking along those lines as well - I keep seeing Snow Socks. They are
a textile band that covers the tread and is supposed to improve grip.
Some people are quite impressed; others dismiss them as rubbish. Any
Living at the top of a hill, with 3 or 4 out of the 5 access roads
ungritted, I am most definitely interested in improving my chances of
getting home - or getting away from home. Nine hours on Monday for just
12 miles from work. And I had to abandon car in carpark and walk up the
Studs will damage the road, chains will damage the road and quite
likely to damage the tyre as well when driven on anything but snow at
least a couple of inches deep.
But the chances of most people needing chains is minimal and you can
only really use them when the road surface is well buried and being a
bit of palva to put on and off in the cold not worth the effort. You
also need to be sure that chain on the inside doesn't foul (and
break) brake system or body work...
Do you have winter tyres or general purpose/summer ones? Got winter
tyres on my car and I drove it up a snow pack covered 1:7 the other
day without a hint of loss of traction. Still slippy on ice but
unless you have studs ice is just slippy. The summer tyres wouldn't
pull it up a slight snow covered hill last winter.
Winter tyres have a reasonable block pattern but the real grip comes
from the sipes, the small slits into face of the blocks. Some modern
tyres have very few sipes and thus have very poor performance on
snow. The rubber compound also remains softer at lower temperatures,
winter tyres shouldn't be used when the ambient temp is over about
My summer tyres are noticeably "off" when in gets down towards
freezing and have very few sipes, hence they are crap on snow.
Got 'summer' tyres. :-( I felt I did quite well considering the scores
of abandoned vehicles I passed. But the final hill would have been a
challenge whatever tyres. About two hours were added by a coach parked
at a jaunty angle across the road.
Sort of wish I had walked but lack of information about road conditions
made it difficult to take sensible decisions. I kept getting traffic
news from Chichester and next to nothing about Slough/High Wycombe which
I actually needed to know. Seems all the radio stations use traffic news
as a justification for existence but actually fail to deliver, but the
RDS mechanisms don't exactly help.
Well if the manic wheel spin doesn't get you going you don't have a
lot of choice...
Must admit I was quite impressed by driving up a snow covered 1:7,
wasn't quick on the verge of stalling in 1st gear with foot pretty
much on the floor at <1000rpm but no wheel spin or TC taking over. If
it had stalled it might have been fun restarting, think I'd have
dropped to lo-box and probably 2nd or 3rd to start with.
Most stations only carry traffic news in the rush hour periods and
the only report that all the places that clog up, are clogged up.
I've been stuck in a two hour tailback on the A1 south of Catterick
at 2200 and not had a *single* traffic announcement about it for the
entire time I was driving up from Leeds or stuck.
I think winter tyres could be my (slightly late) Christmas present to
Too true - the traffic news rarely operates at weekends regardless of
how much it might be needed. But to be fair, on Monday it was still
going past midnight. But no mention of the overnight shelter available
(several supermakets, John Lewis, and others let people stay overnight)
- and that could have been vitally important to people. And pretty
damned close to zero about the town.
Radio kept jumping around the various stations - 3CR, Oxford, London,
Surrey, FMT, Berks - at least I think that was them!
I heard lots about the M4 round Slough and Maidenhead, and that the M40
was very slow, but really did not expect it to go from slow but passable
on the M40 to absolutely stationary with most roads impassable in Wycombe.
Possibly a bit late now but I popped into my mates garage yesterday
and he'd bought some rock salt from one of his car parts suppliers. I
rang em and had a bag put on the next van (arrived 20 mins later). ;-)
Seems to work too.
Cheers, T i m
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