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Old 02-20-2013, 07:47 PM   #1
keypooh90
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Winter road conditions help needed from a southerner

We are from Georgia and not used to driving on wintery roads. We are currently on a road trip from Georgia to Ohio to Illinois to Pittsburgh. The weather channel is calling for a wintery mix of snow/rain/freezing rain from Thursday evening to this Friday evening in Chicago. We were supposed to drive from Chicago to Pittsburgh Friday morning. I am concerned not about the snow but about the freezing rain. Will the roads be kept clear with the freezing rain or will ice build? Should I adjust plans?
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:52 PM   #2
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I would avoid driving in freezing rain no matter how experienced driver a person is. I can only speak for the NW but here it is one of the worst driving conditions, and often leads to black ice (where the road is icy any you cannot tell). In OR every time we have freezing rain we have cars abandoned and sliding all over the place. I would say better safe then sorry and adjust your plans.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:00 PM   #3
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If I had to drive during those conditions, I'd want it to be on the turnpike. ODOT does a great job at keeping the Ohio section clear and salted. We drove from the Indiana border to NW Ohio during an ice storm without any issues. Good luck and safe travels!
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:01 PM   #4
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I live in Canada and if we didn't drive whenever it snowed or there was freezing rain I would surely miss a lot of work and would spend a lot of time at home. First things first make sure you have a full tank of gas, the wiper blades are in good condition and all your fluids are full. Have an emergency kit just in case. Things like a blanket, a shovel, snow brush and flares.

The most important thing is to take it slow. 99% of accidents are caused by people driving just to darn fast. Even if you see other people driving faster never go faster than you can see and only drive as fast as you still feel you have total control of your car. I have driven in some of the worst conditions. Not usually because I wanted to but there are times when you're in between here and there and have no choice but to keep going. The biggest thing is to take your time. Have a plan B as well. So if things get bad maybe you will get a hotel room.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:09 PM   #5
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We are in a rental car and on college visits. We can't reschedule at this point. The Chicago interview is at DePaul and is late afternoon Thursday. We won't get finished until around 6. Friday would be our travel day and we have to be at Point Park in Pittsburgh Saturday morning.

Thanks so much!
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:10 PM   #6
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ICE is not fun. No matter where you are, or what you are driving.

I like in Central IL and we have ice frequently. I still hate it (after driving in it 45 years...) and avoid at all costs.

If you HAVE to drive on ice. go slow. so slow you think 'what am I doing". at least you will be somewhat safer...
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:25 PM   #7
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I'm a Georgia girl who moved to IL this past August, and even this mild winter has been quite an education for me. They're really good about clearing the roads here, but make sure you don't go out WHILE there is freezing rain. That is some serious stuff. Driving on snow is not that bad, but please be careful while stopping. That's when you're likely to get into trouble. Also, make sure you grab an ice scraper/snow brush. You'll definitely need it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keypooh90
We are in a rental car and on college visits. We can't reschedule at this point. The Chicago interview is at DePaul and is late afternoon Thursday. We won't get finished until around 6. Friday would be our travel day and we have to be at Point Park in Pittsburgh Saturday morning.

Thanks so much!
Ugh, sounds like you will be on the heart of the storm for your whole trip.

Just drive slow and stay on major highways.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keypooh90 View Post
We are in a rental car and on college visits. We can't reschedule at this point. The Chicago interview is at DePaul and is late afternoon Thursday. We won't get finished until around 6. Friday would be our travel day and we have to be at Point Park in Pittsburgh Saturday morning.

Thanks so much!
Chicago isn't supposed to get too much snow now. They were saying 3-5 inches and maybe some freezing drizzle. The expressways here are always cleared very well. Lots of salt trucks out and plowing. The rest of your journey is though states used to snow, so they probably will have the highways cleared pretty well. Just go slowly & if it gets bad, pull over for awhile. Hopefully all will work out ok.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by lizabu View Post
I live in Canada and if we didn't drive whenever it snowed or there was freezing rain I would surely miss a lot of work and would spend a lot of time at home. First things first make sure you have a full tank of gas, the wiper blades are in good condition and all your fluids are full. Have an emergency kit just in case. Things like a blanket, a shovel, snow brush and flares.

The most important thing is to take it slow. 99% of accidents are caused by people driving just to darn fast. Even if you see other people driving faster never go faster than you can see and only drive as fast as you still feel you have total control of your car. I have driven in some of the worst conditions. Not usually because I wanted to but there are times when you're in between here and there and have no choice but to keep going. The biggest thing is to take your time. Have a plan B as well. So if things get bad maybe you will get a hotel room.
Same, though I stay out of freezing rain when I can.

In addition to driving slowly, keep a lot of space between you and the car in front of you. Hopefully you have all or front wheel drive with good tires.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:09 PM   #11
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If you do have to drive in ice/snow, always have your headlights on. If it gets really bad (poor visibility) put your hazards on too. If it is freezing rain, gently check to make sure you have traction, and that you can slow down your car. That means slowly step on the brakes, without turning the steering wheel, to see if you slow down, just a little bit.

If you get into a black ice situation, don't try to do anything fancy! While getting safely off the ice is the main goal, don't try to slow down too much, or you may spin out.

Make sure all baggage is safely stowed and secured, especially anything heavy. Passengers should be in the back seat if possible. Definitely have your seatbelts on, and make sure that if someone is sitting in the front passenger seat, that person is big enough to handle the airbag. If the person is too small, don't let that person ride in front, even if you can turn off the airbag. It's just safer in back.

This is coming from a survivor (me) of a massive 6 car pileup, one of many that evening when Rte 95 in MA turned to black ice.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:22 PM   #12
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Check the tread on your tires. You should have food tread. Apparantly there are things called "snow tires" that the northerners put on in the winter. In Southern California we added chains to our tires when necessary.

Good luck!
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:39 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by diznygirl
Check the tread on your tires. You should have food tread. Apparantly there are things called "snow tires" that the northerners put on in the winter. In Southern California we added chains to our tires when necessary.

Good luck!
I would guess a rental car would have good tires.


As a PP has already mentioned, maybe try to get a front wheel drive car. You could try for a 4wd SUV. If you do get a 4wd vehicle, I would still drive just as slow as in a 2wd car. Having a 4wd on the ice, can sometimes be worst than a 2wd vehicle.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:41 PM   #14
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Here in central Ohio it's suspossed to be icy bad 11p est thurs. to 7a Est fri. than temps are going to be warming up and ice turning to just rain. Take it slow and don't make sudden moves are best advice I can give you. Our main roads are pretty well treated and should be ok with some precautions taken.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:52 PM   #15
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I live in IL; just 20 minutes from St. Louis. Our schools have closed already for tomorrow and we RARELY do that here.

Bad weather is coming in early afternoon. They say we are in line for snow, freezing rain, and sleet. I have been driving in snow for 20 years but I won't get out in ice.

Do your best to adjust your driving plans accordingly and stay safe!
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