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Old 12-03-2009, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
365 posts, read 809,471 times
Reputation: 138

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I had to go to an emergency appt in south Madison from where we live by Verona today at 3pm. By the time we left at 3:45pm and got on the beltline, the snow was coming down and sticking to the ground. The beltline was a parking lot so I got off on Seminole. Big mistake - for anyone not used to Madison ice + snow, do NOT take residential streets. After sliding nearly into the rear of another car (not due to close following but bc the car just couldn't stop even only going 10mph) and getting stuck in not 1 but 2 places in the road near by house, having slid while driving over to the sidewalk...I realized the ice here SUCKS but the people are AMAZING. The first time I got stuck a woman was out shoveling her sidewalk and brought sand out and pushed my car out. An angel. The 2nd time was right next to 2 buses that had slid as well and was as I was turning onto the street before my house - 2 different men stopped in their vehicles to help push out my car from the sidewalk. Wow. I've driven in snow before but nothing this icy, and I know it wasn't just me because so many had slid...but I've never in my life seen so much kindness as displayed today - the people of Madison truly are one of a kind. I finally made it home and I'm just hoping I don't need to get to the ER, as was recommended by my doctor if my symptoms worsen tonight...I don't think we'd ever make it to St. Mary's in one piece or within reasonable time. What do you do in emergencies here in ice?? Is the whole winter iced like this??
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Back in Defo....WI
3,269 posts, read 4,279,787 times
Reputation: 1622
ice isn't the norm but the roads can and do ice up ( esp at intersections and ramps ). Black ice can be a real issue. What type of tires were on your car? Depending on what was on from your previous location, that can make it worse if you don't have at least a good all season tire at minimum ( sorry for the side bar ).
As you did notice the beltline can be awful. Even if pavement is ok.

hope you get better!
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
365 posts, read 809,471 times
Reputation: 138
eh yeah I have no clue what tires we have on there...but I don't like them, I know that! I'm forcing the hubby into the cold garage tonight to check the tread. Are we allowed to have snow chains within city limits? We are getting A LOT more snow and slippage out here by Verona at the Madison limits than they got in town. Any suggestions on what we should have on hand in our car and garage (our driveway is uphill too)? Or what to do when we get stuck again in case no nice strangers are around? I don't have a cell phone, I'm 6 months pregnant and we have 2 toddlers with me always...this was not a good day for me. :-(

FYI weather advisory says 5" by 8-10pm but we already have 4" in our yard and it's only been 2 hours of snow at this point. Is this normal rate? Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Back in Defo....WI
3,269 posts, read 4,279,787 times
Reputation: 1622
normal snow for the year is in the 40 inch range. Last 2 seasons have been over 100" so what really is normal anymore.

I'd suggest any car have a shovel, a blanket, and ( my opinion ) every driver should have a cell phone in case of emergency. We also have been members of AAA, though we never needed them for roadside assist they were always there if needed ( of course on blizzard days it can take a long time to get help ).
The last 20 years we lived in Deforest, with most of those years my wife driving the beltline to Todd dr ( so plenty of snow stories to share with me each night ). The roads were never that bad where she couldn't make it home, but the time could double or triple easy enough.
At home, we always had a supply of salt ( or whatever medium you prefer to help melt ice if chemicals are a concern ) as well as sand. Salt wont work once it's say 15 or below, so at least the sand on top of hard pack or ice can get you some traction until you can clear your drive and walks.
As for tires, all season would be shown as something like "M+S 195/..." on the sidewall, the MS meaning mud and snow. Many people get by with all season tires, we did for years. The last couple yrs up there though with all the snow, and also due to my wife's car being more of a "toy" and not really one for snow traction--we went and purchased 4 actual snow tires and would swap them on and off each season ( as she also has larger "summer" tires which now can be on all 12 months down here! ). Those snow tires, as they are a softer rubber compund, made a huge difference even on a front wheel drive. In fact we gave them to our daughter when we came down here, and she has been very happy with them as she drives a distance as well. I guess for tires, that would depend on type of car, how many miles you drive, and your comfort level on the roads.
Sorry for the long rambling post. If it's of any help, many poeple, even the lifelong residents, take a good snowfall or two to "remember" how to drive in winter. Once you get a good feel for it, just take your time and you should be fine
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
365 posts, read 809,471 times
Reputation: 138
Thanks!! We have a 4x4 SUV but since I never had to use it before today, I need to learn. Our tires are regular, not all season, so that probably didn't help. Darn. I just planned on staying inside all winter, lol, would've worked too if the doctor had demanded I come in today immediately *sigh* -- and then I love that they told me to go to the ER if it worsens, um yeah...and it would only take me about 2-3 hours to reach downtown (normally 15 minutes). ha. I don't normally drive anywhere here, maybe to meet the hubby for lunch every couple of weeks at UW, or take the kids to the library, but that's about it - the dr is probably the furthest I go on any regular occasion. When this all melts this weekend, we're headed out for salt & sand...what kind of shovel should the car have? We have big snow shovels for our house, but didn't think about the car. I'm just so glad we made it home in one piece and didn't have to trudge through ice in slippery shoes (being pregnant & clumsy already - that was my biggest fear).
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:48 PM
 
57 posts, read 127,129 times
Reputation: 40
snow chains are probably not even legal on the streets here, by the way. you should never need them.

this is a kind of "warm" snow and the main roads don't even have any residual treatment on them (side roads usually completely untreated), so may explain the icy conditions. you do have to get accustomed to maneuvering in the typical snow/ice slush that covers the roads most of jan/feb. also good advice is to not go out during or right after a storm, but if it's not an option then just gotta deal with it.

also i wouldn't rely on the perceived safety of a 4x4, i always see more 4x4's spun out and slid off in ditches than any other vehicle. i've never driven one but i think they don't help much for ice.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
365 posts, read 809,471 times
Reputation: 138
The 4x4 mode is the only thing that got me out of the ice stick earlier...seemed my tires actually got some traction and went with that. On front wheel drive only, I was just spinning.

I made the mistake of getting off the main roads and cutting through the neighborhood to get home, I don't think I'll do that again. I wouldn't have gone out if I had a choice...trust me on that one!
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:14 AM
 
57 posts, read 127,129 times
Reputation: 40
oh yeah, it could help if you're stuck, maybe just not for the slide itself.

there's a technique to get unstuck that mainly involves trying very hard to NOT spin the tires (once you start spinning, you just create an icy compressed zone around the tires with no traction whatsoever). you have to give little pulses to the gas. another trick that can work if you have an automatic, although i'm sure this is terrible for the transmission, is to quickly shift between drive and reverse, which can give you some rocking momentum.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Chicago
36,660 posts, read 58,156,313 times
Reputation: 25733
Chains are in fact legal, and yes, I can envision a few days a year where they'd come in plenty handy. Such as today, as an alternative to sliding around.

347.45 Tire equipment. (1) All automobiles, motor trucks, motor buses, truck tractors, trailers, semitrailers, recreational vehicles, and mobile homes when operated upon a highway shall be completely equipped with tires inflated with compressed air and all other motor vehicles when operated on a highway shall be equipped with tires of rubber or of some material or construction of equal resiliency. No person may operate on a highway any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, recreational vehicle, or mobile home having any metal tire in contact with the roadway, except that tire chains of reasonable proportions may be used when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid, and except as provided in sub. (2)(c) [allowing studs under certain circumstances, such as emergency vehicles or vehicles registered out of state but not driven within Wisconsin for more than 30 days].

Some alternatives to chains that are easier to install (but probably more expensive):

Flex-Trax

Autosock .... brings you home

Snobootz - Better Than Tire Chains

Last edited by Drover; 12-04-2009 at 09:34 PM..
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
1,703 posts, read 3,208,381 times
Reputation: 749
Default Who knew - I guess Drover :)

Drover is right. I looked it up. Snow chains are legal, but I haven't seen anyone use them since I was in first grade. Actually, even then they weren't being used on a car. My friend and I found them buried in the back of his garage and used them as a ladder to get into his tree house.
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