10 comments on “Something I learned today

  1. Oh go on – you are going to have to explain what you were trying to do going over a mountain pass in winter…

    Tim adds@ Well, I needed to go from Usti Nad Labem, in Czech, to Freiberg in German. Inbetween are the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge, Krusny Hory). There’s several routes over the mountains. I knew enough not to take one of the little roads, the old mule tracks that have been paved over the years. So I took the main one. Up past Cinovec (“place of tin”) and Zinnwald (“tin forest”) and Altenberg (“high town”….you get the sorts of names around here?) and that was still…..interesting.

    Coming back I went up to Dresden and down the motorway. Which has tunnels that go under the mountains.

  2. Me too Tim.
    Got stuck, deflated the tyres a bit, got out. Drove to gas station to reflate tyres when close to motorway. No bloody 2 euro coin!

    When can we leave the EU? They even F U the weather!

  3. I must admit that sometimes it can be fun.

    We took one of our colleagues from Hong Kong who was visiting us in Geneva on a road trip from Geneva through Gstaad to Interlaken.

    Driving around the snowy mountain roads surrounded by 20 feet of cleared snow on either side and watch the external temperature gradually drop to -12 Celsius was an amusing experience.

    We got out at a pass in the middle of the mountains for him to experience the full cold, he was enjoying it right up to the point where I got him with a snowball right down the back of the neck.

    Strangely, he took to skiing like a duck to water…

  4. All I can say is: snow tyres.

    The single greatest invention for winter driving. I drive regularly in snow and haven’t used chains for over 10 years.

    You get to enjoy the scenery.

  5. Ah yes, mountains and snow. We get a lot of both in Japan. 70% of Japan is mountains, and in my town we get an average of about 12 metres (>16 metres last winter) of snow, measured as daily snowfall.

    Driving on expressways here, you get to go through a lot of tunnels. In daylight and normal weather, they can be a bit intimidating. Tunnel after tunnel, km after km. In winter and bad weather, they are havens of clear visibility and non-frozen surface.

    Bilbaoboy is spot-on re: winter tyres. They give amazing traction in all winter conditions. They aren’t just for snow. They work on ice and cold wet roads too. Last month the Torygraph motoring ran a test on Porsche’s icy road simulator. Snow tyres gave a 50% improvement in braking distance vs. normal tyres. I know that’s about right. It’s a hell of a margin in conditions where you are consistently close to the limit.

  6. That’s topical – having just arrived in the Arlberg from the UK.

    “Snow tyres gave a 50% improvement in braking distance vs. normal tyres. I know that’s about right.”

    That sounds quite conservative. Ie, the point for me is that you can get stuck far more easily without them. Summer tyres on steepish ascents in the Alps during thick snow and it used to be an automatic stop for chains.

    Winter tyres are increasingly (almost) a legal requirement (Germany and many eastern Alpine areas) during the winter months.

    Tunnels – Any opportunity!

  7. Just arrived back from the Apennines around Grand Sasso, Winter tyres or chains are not compulsory BUT if you get into trouble without them you are for the high jump!

  8. Sorry, am I missing something here? The massed brains of UKIP seem to agree that (a) there’s more chance of snow in mountains than elsewhere (b) roads with a slope are more slippery when covered in snow than flat roads, (c) tyres designed to cope with snow might cope better with snow than those not designed for snow.

    Wow. Really?

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