Moving to Area With Snow -- Advice

Without a doubt, the best advice is from those that live in your area…the locals know best. Talk especially those that work in inclement weather in your area. Experience is the best teacher…

PS. Example, I could say get snow tires; but our area is cursed with a lot of wet snow and ice and would recommend snows with wider spaced lugs and studs. Your’s may have lots of dry snow where studs may not be necessary with a tighter tread. The locals will know the difference.

I’m into woodworking, and I can relate to you, and it’s funny – I can do with a dull & rusty knife what most folks can’t do with a garage worth of tools…but I’m not going to, not for a moment, ask my gal to risk her life on rusty knives…when she comes out to work with me, she uses tools I don’t dare touch.
I’ve learned what I know through a great deal of pain. A dull chisel costs you pain, stiches, & time in the ER. A set of cost-saving, run-em-till-they-pop, crappy tires is pain she doesn’t need. I want the knowledge & experience you have, wrapped into a nice little hands on lesson with an experienced instructor.

You’re right about the locals, mconn. mjhughes should check out what the mail trucks use, especially pick the brains of people who use their own vehicles to deliver the mail and have been doing it a long time. People who deliver newspapers w/their car at 4;30 AM. Me, I’d get 4 snows w/studs- it may be cold Colorado, but that doesn’t mean snow doesn’t melt in the day from the sun’s rays; then

freeze at night- and what about hard packed snow? Except studs supposedly pop out of the steering tires. Anyone know anything about availability/fesability of temporary chains? They were popular back when most wheeels were steel and all had those pretty much standard “style holes” out near the rim. You would fish the canvas strap part through these holes, and buckle them tight w/the chain

part against the tread- 4 per tire. Then when you got out of where you were stuck, you could take’em off. J. C. Whitney still sells them .

Someone else already pointed out that CO Spgs is not exactly the end of civilization. On those fairly rare ocasions that they do have much snow, they have all the proper equipment to remove it from MOST of the streets. The Springs is where northern and mountain Coloradoans go to warm up in the winter time. Fear not. You have an AWD vehicle. For the most part, you won’t need it. IF you do need to go up Highway 24 to the west, watch for shaded areas as you round curves in cold weather. They may be icy.

The first time I ever drove my wife up Highway 24 (Ute pass) I was passing cars on curves and making good progress. My wife never said a word until we got to Chipita Park where all the lanes come together. THEN she said “Oh, it’s a four lane”. She had not realized that the two up hill lanes are on one side of Ute creek and downhill lanes are largely invisible on the other. She didn’t become a backseat driver until our kids began to get their learner’s permits.

Yup, I’ve lived 50 miles north and about 1000 feet lower than the springs for 20 years. I have a 4WD beater that I use occasionally if there is fresh snow and to go skiing (mostly to carry stuff). About 95% of the time we use our RWD cars with all-season tires without any problem. If the roads are bad enough that you need AWD with four snow tires, plenty of other folks are going to stuck (blocking the road) anyway.

Other than the occasional “big” storm when no one is going anyplace anyway, it’s just like driving anyplace else in the northern half of the U.S. Don’t worry about it, you’ll figure it out when you get here.

On slippery roads, slow down before stopping, because you can’t do it all at once. Slow down before turning and don’t drive on the side of the road before turning into a driveway. You used to be able to do that with rear wheel drive cars and trucks, but front wheel drives end up in the ditch. You might be able to do it if you aren’t trying to slow down. You already have to be going dead slow. At sunset, if you have had a warmer day, water may be on the road and will turn to ice with water on top of it. Dangerous. The ice is safer when the water stops running. Bridges that you have to drive on will ice up first and it is always a surprise. Morning fog will make it happen suddenly. If you are driving a Saturn Vue, you absolutely cannot be drunk. The short wheelbase and large tires will make it sneak off the road on you. You will be gone before you know it. Get snow/Winter tires with studs and don’t borrow somebody’s front drive car for any driving unless absolutely necessary. Get the windshield deicer that has to be mixed with water and don’t mix it. Use it straight. To repeat, Don’t get caught trying to slow down during a turn.

The original post didn’t mention Colorado Springs. Altitude there is only about 6,000 feet. It is also a major city with good snow removal. If you do not expect to get into the mountains during the winter, you can get by with all-season tires. However, if you plan to live in the mountains out of town, you will need real winter tires. Also, it would be shame to live in Colorado but be afraid to enjoy the mountains during the winter.

Take advice about a winter survival kit (blankets, food, candle, etc.) seriously. In Colorado, it can be the difference between life and death.

Actually, just use common sense and drive carefully. Don’t drive like the locals. It only takes an hour or so to get used to driving on snow. Most Americans have done this during their lifetime. I moved from the Great Lakes snow belt areato the west and found the driving actually easier most of the time. In fact, the ski areas of New England in winter are some of the toughest; this very moment the North East is being hit with snow storm. Colorado Springs is nothing special compared to the North East. The snow will be colder and dryer, but less slippery. Your vehicle with winter tires will be OK, but as others pointed out, look ahead and don’t do anything suddenly.

In adverse driving conditions, it doesn’t matter how fast you can go. It matters how fast you can STOP!! (N’est ce pas, eh?) Hey, MJ, what town, city or County are you moving to? OOPS! I just saw where you’re moving to. Around Colo. Spgs., a good set of all season radials will do you just fine about 98% of the time. Just be wary of I-25 in adverse weather conditions. Some people’s children don’t concentrate and think that I-25 is a race track whicch quite often results in a demolition derby. If you like rock, try 98.1 FM–KKFM. “Colorado’s only classic rock station.”

I’m sure your current car with the proper winter tires will get you around fine. If you ever get interested in a different car for that area check out the Subaru line and try a test drive in the winter after a good snow. I think you will like the feel of the drive.

I am a Minnesota native, and was a resident of Lake Tahoe for four years. I drove a Mercury Sable the whole time I lived in Tahoe. I just had studded snow tires put on every year, and chains for when it got really rugged. I couldn’t travel into some areas in the winter, but it got me where I needed to go. A four-wheel drive with studded tires is the best option, but you can live without it if necessary.

As far as learning to drive in the snow and ice the best advice is to drive slow and know your cars limits. I have seen so many Californians spin out in Tahoe because they don’t change their driving habits to accommodate road and weather conditions. If you do go the route of chains and studded tires, practice putting your chains on before the snow comes. This will make it go much faster when there is 5 feet of snow! Have fun!

Wow, that’s the truth. Anyone remember a few years back when some guy got stuck in a storm on a dirt road near Mt Hood, OR? He kept a diary till he was too weak to do so. Went down to like 80 lbs. They found his body weeks later. Must not have had a cell phone, or maybe mountain blocked communication. Much as I hate cell phones it might have saved his life; or a laptop computer, maybe. Sorry for the morbid

post, but it’s something to consider in 14,000 plus feet terrain. Colo. being my native state, by the way, except I’ve lived in Pennsy most of my life. (Still can’t stand what those Rockies did to my Phillies.)

I’m glad you mentioned that “AWD will get you moving, but it won’t help you stop” because it seems many SUV drivers dont realize that.

Lots of great advice.
I strongly recommend also getting rubber booted winter windshield wipers. They’re about $6 each at WalMart. Regular wipers ice up in storms and become worse than uselss. In addition to smearing glop all over the windshield, you’ll need to stop and clear them regularly, and that can become a hazard. I’ve seen people stoped on the shoulder of highways in blizzards clearing their wipers because they simply cannot see where they’re going.

Also, drain your window wash reservoir and refillit with “winter formula” fluid. Then pump some through. Regular fluid will freeze in the lines.

The good news is you are moving to Colorado. As far as I can find on the Internet, Colorado is the only place that has a permanent Winter driving school. It’s the Bridgestone Winter Drving School in Steamboat Springs. Here is a link:

I think Volvo also offers a Winter driving school in Colorado, but it may just be a Volvo sponsored course at the Bridgestone site.

Some times you can’t identify ice. Look up the term “black ice.” That is when ice forms on a roadway and the ice is so clear you can’t see it. Usually, ice is pretty obvious, but certain conditions are just right for black ice and they usually tell you about it in the weather forecasts.

I’ve seen that driving school in steamboat, it seems like it’s partially geared to tourists but it is probably a good idea. BTW, it’s about 4 hours away from where he will be living (and that can be an interesting drive in the winter).

does your car have anti-lock brakes? If not, think of a vehicle with them. They are wonderful!!

Yeah, but a lot closer than for me living in Virginia. :wink: I’d like to give my daughter(s) a Winter driving course, but that’s the only one I can ever find, except for one up in Canada which is almost as far away.