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driving in Canada

Discussion in 'Canada' started by sly_karma, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    yeah its hard to imagine someone surviving that
     
  2. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Note how most of the bad incidents occurred on multi lane highways with no centre divider or median. That is a dangerous road configuration for winter conditions, people pulling off ill advised passing moves with deadly results. The lanes closer to the centre of the road tend to be less used so there is often a buildup of snow/slush/ice in there, and the acceleration and higher speed during the pass cause instability. Boucing off a centre barrier or going into the centre ditch is a lot more preferable to slewing into the opposite lane. For visitors to Silver Star and possibly Sun Peaks, the road from Kelowna north to Vernon is mostly this format and delivers up a fatality or two each winter. Be careful out there folks.
     
  3. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Update on new regulations that the BC govt quietly ushered in at the beginning of October. It's sort of a "give with one hand, take away with the other" scenario. The permissive part is that mountain pass driving is now legal with Mud & Snow (M&S) tyres - used to be you had to have either full winters or chains. The restrictive part is that now the great majority of BC numbered highways are subject to this requirement, the only exclusions being around metro Vancouver and Victoria.

    This is essentially Clayton's mandatory snow tyres regulation. They haven't got the balls to make a blanket law requiring every vehicle in BC to have snow tyres - you can still legally drive on municipal streets and minor rural roads without them - but without access to provincial highways you're hamstrung. The govt saw how unpopular the legislation was in Quebec and decided to sneak it in as a change in Highways regs.

    For visitors to BC, you might find you'll have an easier time with rental cars and appropriate rubber. The companies will know by now that the law requires M&S or snow tyres for travel anywhere beyond the city. Might still be getting used to it this year but by next year they'll have the vehicles kitted out. I'm sure there will still be some that use the old cop out of "we have tyres appropriate for around here, not our problem if you want to go further afield." The easy response to that is tell them you'll rent elsewhere, from someone who understand people want to go skiing in winter. Renting from Kelowna or Kamloops should be fine, all the interior highways are covered by the new regs.

    Recapping: your vehicle needs Severe Winter, M&S or carry chains if you intend to drive on BC highways outside of Vancouver or Victoria. In force October 1-April 30 every year.
     
  4. Astro66

    Astro66 Still looking for a park in Thredbo

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    Thanks for the confirmation Sly.

    Always rented a SUV which only had M+S All Season.

    I'd been leaving a set of chains at my cousins in Vancouver, which I pick up and carry. But am not allowed to fit by the rental company. So ridiculous.

    Will be great to not have to worry and carry the extra weight and space, just to comply with a law, I wasn't allowed to comply to, for insurance reasons.
     
  5. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    we were just lucky our last rental had snow tyres, but the rental company made no guarantees.

    When we get to the airport this time, we will be willing to swap our rental car for another if we can find one with the right tyres
     
  6. snowtyres

    snowtyres Addicted

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  7. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've been driving on Goodyear's Wrangler SR/A the past couple of weeks. They're fitted to a new Chev Silverado 1500 crew cab. Conditions last Saturday were slimy to say the least, several mm of freezing rain had fallen overnight and everything was glazed, we were struggling to even walk on my sloping driveway. I was not looking forward to heading up through the canyon to the west of town en route to Apex. I found the traction to be better than expected; experimented a bit as I gained confidence and found it took fairly excessive inputs on brakes or throttle to cause loss of traction, certainly rougher than I would normally be in those conditions. This is a M&S rated tire and was chosen for quiet smooth ride, fuel economy and moderate price. I'd been using the factory rubber (Goodyear) and found them to be very good in slushy snow but they're not M&S so I had to switch to be legal.
     
  8. snowtyres

    snowtyres Addicted

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    The M+S marking on tyres is very misleading.
    M+S designation on a tyre refers only to the tread pattern as the standard calls for a tyre with grooves at the outside of the tread that extend into the centre.
    It also means that 25% of the tyre tread contact surface be open, i.e., a more open tread pattern.

    http://www.wikitz.com/tire_care_inf...tions for passenger and light truck tires.pdf

    You will find the M+S symbol on most all-season tyres, on off-road and all-terrain tyres and even some high performance summer tyres may have this designation.
    However, there are no performance standards to meet or traction tests to pass.
    Any tyre with grooves at angles and with 25% of the tread void can be labelled as M+S.
    And on icy snow and on ice, the open tread grooves have zero effect on performance.
    Control of the vehicle comes strictly from equal parts of the tyre rubber compound that provides adhesion and the effects from the tread sipes.
    In 1999, the RMA defined a real “snow” or winter tyre with its severe snow-rating.
    Car and AWD tyres that pass this performance test and are embossed with the “snowflake on a mountain peak” icon that indicates a severe snow service conditions rating.

    The M+S rating doesn’t mean much.
    The severe snow rating does.

    Although wet road hydroplaning is dangerous, snow slush planing is even more dangerous.
    The combination of melting snow, a layer of water on the road surface, and possibly ice can make the situation 'difficult', even for an experienced driver.



    Wet snow slush can easily turn a driver into a passenger!
     
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  9. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Most provincial govts want to do the same thing as Quebec, but there was a lot of backlash to the mandatory snow tires law. That's made the other govts reluctant to force it on their populations. Probably why BC made the changes it did this year, just a quiet media release announcing a change in highways dept regs, no politicians were anywhere near this one. Perhaps it will eventually work its way up to mandatory winters but I doubt it, three quarters of British Columbians live in Victoria or Vancouver, cities well known in Canada for their minimal snow and mild winters.

    Agree that slushy conditions are probably the most dangerous highway conditions, either that or freezing rain. Slush planing is what puts a lot of people in the ditch - or the morgue.
     
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  10. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not Canada, but Michigan yesterday.

    Are the 'murkans not aware that snow can be a bit slippery?

    the speed of these people is just stoopid

    (click to watch)
     
  11. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    How to get ice off your window?:doh:

     
  12. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Those videos are scary but most of them got what they were putting themselves in line for by going too fast on a snowy road. The ones I feel sorry for are the people who weren't driving like idiots who got hit by the ones that were.

    I told the rental company (Avis) that we were going to Whistler (from YVR) and they didn't bat an eyelid. Turns out we had the same tyres that our BC-resident friends had - winter tyres with a soft compound. They wouldn't be much good in proper snow but the road from Vancouver to Whistler is kept so clear that it would take major bad luck to hit conditions where they didn't work. If that happened we'd probably grab a motel and wait for it to clear.

    Plus we didn't drive to the speed limit, we drove to the conditions. The temps were close to zero at times and there were stretches where I was doing 60 instead of 90. We didn't find any black ice, but that was probably because we were on a busy road after a couple of thousand cars had busted it up for us.

    There's no sense saving 20 minutes by driving fast if you spend 5 hours getting pulled out of a ditch and filling in insurance forms...
     
  13. Normo

    Normo Mostly Harmless Ski Pass: Gold

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    It is my gift to the rest of the world that I will not (and have never) driven a vehicle outside of Oz.
    I've been all over Australia in all sorts of vehicles and in all sorts of conditions but.......if I cross an ocean, I have no desire to be in the drivers seat.
    Not so much to do with LHD or unfamiliar vehicles. Just not willing to take on unfamiliar terrain, customs, vehicle, gestures, passions, whatever.....all at the same time.
    Wussy, I know. But I'm still getting around, relatively in one piece/peace. :)
     
  14. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've had a year driving a full size Chev 4WD truck now, with a couple of winter road trips and numerous laps up to Apex and back. I have to say, there's something to be said for sheer size. Out on the fast open roads and freeways in the snow and slush, small cars can get tramtracked around a bit. Not so the big truck. Could be that the wider wheel track is a better fit with the groove the big semis create, plus three tons of american iron is hard to just shunt around. On the Okanagan Connector a couple of weeks ago, the rare good visibility allowed me to run at speeds in the 130-140 kmh range and it felt rock solid and surefooted. We also had a very heavy wet snowfall down in the valley a fortnight ago that caused lots of trouble for small cars but the truck loved it. Took me an hour to make the normally 20 minute drive home from work because I had to pull a couple of stuck vehicles loose.

    I think travelling Aussies would do well in a rented large SUV or pickup. Fuel prices have returned to sanity so the bigger vehicles are a bit more affordable. Just make sure it has at least M&S tires or you're not legal on most BC highways. I fitted mine with Goodyear M&S and plan to keep them on all year and sell the factory rubber (also Goodyear).
     
  15. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jeep Grand Cherokee is very capable and the Hyundai Santa fee I had this week was very sure footed and comfortable on the snowy roads to Whitewater and then Rossland today. Jeep was better though, more mass and grunt. TBC drove the Jeep back from Calgary in a good old blizzard and they closed the road 30 mins after she went through.

    Its just a matter of steady with intent.
     
  16. Camelot

    Camelot One of Us

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    If you're not driving an F350 in Canada you're just not trying.....
     
  17. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    F350 dually with lift kit, looks great towing yer horse trailer to the Stampede.
     
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  18. bomber

    bomber One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have Grand Cherokee booked to and from Whistler. I know not far but better to be safe.
     
  19. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    The road up to Whistler carries so much traffic that you'd need to encounter a serious blizzard to really need a 4WD. With a bit of luck, you might get exactly that!

    I've always found it a problem booking a car out of Whistler. Avis is (AFAIK) the only outlet in town and they never seem to have anything available to book. They might have one if you drop in but I wouldn;t want to rely on that. So on our last trip we ended up renting in and out of YVR and the car sat in the basement for a week.
     
  20. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    In dunno about the F350 but the rustic Subaru I was in this morning overtook 3 of them.
     
  21. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mustve been petrol engine F350s, serious heavy duty guys always get diesel.
     
  22. KneeDeep

    KneeDeep One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    How do the diesels go for starting in the cold?
     
  23. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not great unless you plug them in.
     
  24. bomber

    bomber One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Booked it through avis.co.uk and one day hire about 45 GBP which is cheaper for 3 of us. One hire each way and no worries.
     
  25. chunky

    chunky Old n' Crusty

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    I've enjoyed having the Tahoe for the family hire car the last couple of trips. Very roomy for the 6 of us and all our gear.
     
  26. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    nice vid:

     
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  27. kylep

    kylep Cage rattler Ski Pass: Gold

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    A few pics from earlier in the month. Only really had nervous times on the drive from Whistler to Sun Peaks, mostly the last few hundred km. Was snowing and getting a bit dark. Took our time and the little Jeep Compass handled it fine. Only real traction loss I felt was on the roads between mountain and town and that wasn't unexpected. Silver Star to Sun Peaks wasn't too cold a day and drizzled consistently enough that I think it helped.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Some not so safe
    [​IMG]
     
  28. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    It all gets trickier in the dark, doesn't it? Certainly not impossible to drive winter roads after dark, but definitely harder on the eyes and concentration. Very fatiguing if there's snow falling.
     
  29. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    we did that last year coming back from Whistler.

    Decent snowfall, in the dark, unfamiliar road, LHD, crappy headlights.

    Was a loooong drive
     
  30. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    No roadside reflectors or lane markers...
     
  31. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Really missed those reflectors the first few years I lived here, but they're a waste of money on roads where the ploughs just scrape them off. The only thing that works is rumble strips, wish they'd put them on centre line and shoulder as well.
     
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  32. kylep

    kylep Cage rattler Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah fortunately most of the time there was a clear enough tire track or we were following in a mini convoy. Fortunately we're both decent drivers and swapped over so we didn't have to do more than 1-2 hours at a time in the tougher conditions. Done enough left hand drive now to be pretty ok with it, having done a couple of weeks solid driving around the US on a previous trip and a fair bit around Vancouver before the big long drives this time. I enjoy it but I can definitely see a big benefit in flying or bus so you just don't have to worry so much.
     
  33. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've learned my lesson about washing headlights too.

    i'm used to using xenons, so a traditional halogen, then all covered in road grime...
     
  34. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Flying isn't much better sometimes. Winter weather can easily disrupt commercial flight operations, and the nth american air system is tightly integrated like the european one, poor conditions in one region can have a roll-on effect that causes disruptions over half the continent. The big storm that hit the Atlantic coast earlier this week caused 8000 cancelled flights and a few thousand more delayed ones. Some people haven't made it to their destination yet. The bus is a good option most of the time but if it gets truly snotty, they're still a RWD vehicle and will struggle too.

    Bottom line is, winter can defeat all our transport systems. Best way is to avoid is to stay home or bunk down somewhere and wait it out. The worst of it rarely lasts more than 24 hours.
     
  35. chunky

    chunky Old n' Crusty

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    WHat do you mean about washing headlights?
     
  36. chunky

    chunky Old n' Crusty

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    You didn't clean them of the road grime?
     
  37. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    not the first time. I'd never experienced road grime until then.

    and because I drive normally with bi-xenons, I just presumed these were crap headlights LOL
     
  38. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Gotta wash those headlights and taillights at each stop. Rear camera lens too if applicable.
     
  39. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    yeah by the second day, a big bottle of water lived in the back of the car
     
  40. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    And a 4 litre jug of washer fluid always on board. Although not using washers as much with the big truck. Small car, ye gods you go through gallons of the stuff.
     
  41. bomber

    bomber One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Often the first thing you are asked at a petrol station is "Did you get/want washer fluid?"
     
  42. TClinton

    TClinton Hard Yards

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    I thought they were just being annoying and upselling...But seriously we needed a bottle almost every petrol stop on the way to Quebec City last week.
     
  43. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, when the road conditions are just so, you can go through washer fluid amazingly fast. Washers needed every 15-20 seconds. Now you understand why lots of Canadians have a summer car that isn't even registered/insured during the cold months. Lots of nice sports cars, convertibles and motorbikes around with low mileage because they're strictly pleasure vehicles and only on the 4-6 months a year.
     
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  44. bomber

    bomber One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    :tany:On a slightly different taack, a bit of a warning for people over a mistake I made. Picked up a very new Ford Explorer at Avis in Whistler for the drive to YVR. Car was jammed tight in dark basement so could not do a walk around. Drove it direct to parking lot at Pan Pacific and left it away from all cars with pillar on left drivers side. Because was going to dinner forgot to do a check then. Next morning in the dark about to drive out and notice scratches on right rear quarter where the car had been backed onto a wall.
    Lucky I had paid the $10 for excess reduction to zero but not very happy. Avis person said sorry car had been there for 2 days so I must have done it and I should have checked. Acknowledged that but suggested that their cleaning staff should be more dilligent and not palm it off to unsuspecting customers.
    No real hassle dropping the car off, filled out a form and was told all settled so in the end $10 saved me $500 excess. Lucky.
    But am angry at Avis for not doing a check themselves prior to sending the car out. Lesson learned.
     
  45. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    When you pick up the car it should be in the pick up slot and not "jammed in a basement"

    I am diligent about rental checks. Note anything and everything and don't forget to check the glass. Too many time have I found marks not picked up and dismissed as "not bigger that a 20 cent piece" ... don't trust them one bit.
     
  46. bomber

    bomber One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes my own fault but agree with you on having them in delivery slots. Fortunately only cost a lesson and $10
     
  47. CosmicComma

    CosmicComma Early Days

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    BTW bomber, love your tag line, has to be one of the best movies ever made. So many great lines;

    You men come with me, you lot run with Mucus!

    Don't get saucy with me Bearnaise.

    It's good to be the King!
     
  48. bomber

    bomber One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    When you die at the palace you die at the palace
     
  49. shedragon

    shedragon First Runs

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    Great advice. . thanks!