Driving on Icy Roads

Icy roads qualify for park it time for an inexperienced coach driver.  Many of us can handle some pretty extreme conditions, but sliding a vehicle your size can ruin your whole day. Brett 1999 42'

I can only add that bridges ice over first so when driving in cold, rainy or light snow conditions. While the snow may be not sticking much yet, the bridges are the first to get really slippery.

Chains and Foretravels don't go together.

If there has been a rainstorm during the night but early morning is clear, the black ice creature is probably lurking out there. Best to postpone departure until mid morning when the temps have come up a bit.

Downhill, even if not in much snow is especially dangerous. Once a coach has started to slide, no ABS or turning into the slide will stop it. Never let traffic behind you dictate your speed. Pierce and Gaylie 19'93 (94) U300 36'

Add us to the "park it" side.  We both grew up in the northeast.  Snow is one thing.  Ice is a whole different ballgame, especially on flyovers, bridges, etc. and in states that don't routinely have to deal with frozen precipitation removal.  Once you get all wheels sliding, all bets are off, you're along for the ride.  Steve and Michelle 2003 U320 40'

Driving a FT on ice covered surfaces is no different than any other vehicle, you can't.  As others have mentioned you will just be along for the ride, and most of the time does not have a good outcome.  Time is on your side, wait it out and keep others and yourself safe.  David 2003 U320 38'

One night I remember coming down a small hill and letting off the fuel pedal.  Was running about 55 mph and it was winter time with temps around 30.  Coming down the hill everything went quiet.  No engine noise or road noise to speak of at all.  I looked down at the speedometer and it was bouncing back and forth at about 10 mph while the tach was just above idle, while I had not slowed down at all.  Was on glare ice still doing 55 mph. 

The speedometer was only showing 10 mph because I was sliding down the road.  I knew I could not touch the brakes cause I would be a goner real fast.  I finally got coasted to slow enough speed that I could get onto the shoulder and stop.  That covered about a miles distance to get slowed down that much.  Got out of the cab and when I hit the pavement I fell flat on my butt. 

Got back into the rig and I sat there about 15 minutes waiting for a big rig to come along and break it up, but no one did.  I was driving a rig pulling a empty aluminum gasoline tanker and only weighted 26,000 lbs.  So I tried to pull ahead while driving on the shoulder and ended up on the opposite side of the road.  Crawled it very slowly back to the right side of the highway.  Finally a big rig came along and it was heavy enough that it broke up the ice and I was able to get traction and crawl into the next town.  I had unknowingly driven into a ice storm that blanketed a 4 county area. Black ice will not break up like that.  And you can not tell that you are on black ice because it looks just live the pavement.

The moral of this (very true) story is that I was very lucky to get stopped without wrecking that night.  Do not try to drive on any type of ice because you have no control of the vehicle you are driving!  Snow I can handle, but ice there is no handling unless you have chains or studs installed!!!  And personally, I will wait it out even if I have the chains!  Pat C. 1994 U225

Just got back from colorado.  Had a little snow and stuff on the way in and really clean on way out.  I left on Sunday am as there was a storm coming in during the pm (to avoid the new snow).  The idea was to avoid the issue of winter roads (snow and ice).  The idea to sit and not drive during the storm is indeed sage.  When I came in through the Eisenhower tunnel there was a little snow on the road.  I went very slow (like 20-25).  I would not go any faster.  There was not a chain law in effect (which meant there was not enough snow to be too bad).  If there had been a chain law, I would have stopped and not put on the chains that I bought to continue.  I had heard that there was a 1000 dollar fine for not having chains (also flares and fire extinguishers on board)

Well, I have the chains but not much of an intention to use.  They were truly there for emergency use only.  Long thoughts here, to shorten it up my advice parallels everyone else, don't drive on ice (especially) or snow that is deep at all.  This may sound remedial, but keep the diesel, propane, potable water full.  This will allow you to pull over, run generator and or heat/furnaces for quite a while in comfort.  It was for me a fun trip though, so don't let the winter weather stop you, but be ready for an extended stay or as I did leave a little early to avoid the possibility of a longer stay.  Charles scruggs 1996 u295

The point of my message is: plan, plan, plan. A mistake or oversight in winter conditions is likely to be much more dangerous than in mild conditions. Plan to avoid ice and snow, plan to stop if conditions are bad, plan to have redundant resources in case something goes awry. Plan to stay put if there is ice on the route. J D Stevens 1997 U295 36'

© Barry Brideau 2003-2017