Gripping on Ice Patches, Hwy Speeds, TyreGrip?

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Jul 31, 2008
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Question: Is there any thing that can give traction on ice at speeds above 30mph? (Snow tires are good, but are there any that grip ice?) Explanation: I was wondering if anyone - 1. Had used Tyre Grip, and what is your opinion? http://www.tyre-grip.com/ 2. Had recommendations for traction on ice at hwy speeds? (Or as best as can be expected. I know glare ice is nasty unless you've got chains, and you can't go over 30mph with them.) I have a 97 Jeep GC Laredo, w/ 4WD (fulltime, can drive at hwy speeds in 4 wheel). Running snow tires (can't recall which ones off hand). Will try to post them tomorrow or Monday. But every winter you read about people hitting a patch of ice, flying off the road, or into oncoming traffic and being killed. Sometimes they were speeding, but many times it appears they were doing everything right. Being a mindful, cautious driver is by far the best, but are there any other options out there to give a little extra grip if you were to hit an ice patch? Even if you're driving slow, ice is nasty. Searched forums, and web. Haven't found an answer yet. Chains are good if you're around town, under 30 mph. Thanks in advance if you're able to respond. Even a link for more research is appreciated.
 
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Studded tires aren't the end-all, be-all. I tried a couple set and they aren't like those spiked mountain-climber shoes-- they still let go. They do break up ice slightly on the pavement which benefits the guy behind you, and if everyone ran studs the "herd" would clear roads. Winter tires carry most of the benefits on ice you can reasonably expect. The newest winter tires are marketed/ tuned to either snow or ice, so pick ice if that's a worse issue. For commuting, situational awareness of every square foot of pavement, from experience, is the best thing you can have. Slippery bridges, cold spots in valleys, potholes, road crowns, blind corners etc are what you need to know. If you can pull .1 G on an icy corner, enter said corner at slow enough speed and at the right spot on the crown so you can make it if it turns out to be icy. Turn off your radio so you hear road spray on your floor pan. If the noise stops, it just got icy. If you ask someone who wrecked on ice, the ice appeared "out of nowhere". Don't be that guy, just pay more attention than average and some yahoo ahead of you will spin out and wind up in the ditch first. Once you see this going down, cut your speed or park the car.
 
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Originally Posted By: Pop_Rivit
A large dose of common sense is one of the best methods to improve safety when driving in icy conditions.
that is so true ! some people in my area drive the same same speed even if we have snow and ice. they have 4wd so they can drive in anything..... until they hit a patch of ice. I for one just slow down and take my time when the roads are bad.
 
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The best thing to do is nothing if you hit icy roads, I really mean nothing abrupt. No quick moves, no hard brakes, nothing to upset the balance of the car. Panic moves by the idiots in front of you will require you to smoothly drive around them. I had this happen a few times, I de-clutched, let the speed fall off naturally and drove around all the idiots littering the road. And I stayed on the crown of the road when possible. A fresh change of underwear, and you can continue your journey :o)
 
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There are tires that are pretty good on ice but they are somewhat like a sponge. Soft rubber with lots of sipes that hold pretty decent on ice. They are not good on dry weather and wear out quickly.
 
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if its ice near 32F studs are incredibly superior especially when you are using a great tire such as the hakka 8's. Midrange studded would be altimax arctics Bottom of the range studded firestone winterforce, many cooper models such as the weathermaster ST/2 If the ice is at 15F or below studless tires are more similar to studded because the ice is harder. Studded also make ALOT of noise. I voted with my wallet for Blizzak ws-80's sure they are abit mushy in the dry.. but any tire with many sipes and 12/32 of tread would be mushy. That tyre-grip stuff is more for emergency use.. maybe if I lived in atlanta and was running UHP all seasons.
 
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Originally Posted By: KGMtech
The best thing to do is nothing if you hit icy roads, I really mean nothing abrupt. No quick moves, no hard brakes, nothing to upset the balance of the car. Panic moves by the idiots in front of you will require you to smoothly drive around them. I had this happen a few times, I de-clutched, let the speed fall off naturally and drove around all the idiots littering the road. And I stayed on the crown of the road when possible. A fresh change of underwear, and you can continue your journey :o)
This is good advice. Develop a sense for when you're on ice - there is a feeling that the car "just got light". You can often sense ice before you can see it. Get 4 wheel snow tires - optimized for ice (rather than snow) if you prefer. Finally, when you're driving in possible icing conditions, take it easy. Don't count on having traction. The nut in the 4 wheel drive that passed you at high speed may be sitting in the ditch up ahead (hopefully upright) wondering what happened.
 
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Common sense is your first defense. Studded tires would be one answer, but as you probably are already aware, they are illegal for use in Minnesota. If ice is you main concern, then a studless snow tire, like a Blizzak is the next choice. However the tread on those is shot about 1/2 way through, and the handling is squirmy. In my case, I own two 4x4 vehicles, both equipped with snow tires, and drive with common sense to the conditions.
 
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I've hit patches of ice on nice days. Bare pavement--except under an overpass. Or near something that melted. Like when an overpass decides to drip/drain underneath it. Other times from sudden freezing, just after the commuting hours started. Ice doesn't exist only after or during storms. * I have to wonder if having an outdoor thermometer would help. I wonder why they don't use an IR thermometer to find road temp on high end cars... Anyhow, Treated roads won't freeze until road surface gets to what, 25F or so? But at least there is a heads up if you can see the temp drop to freezing. Maybe one is worth installing?
 
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If you're driving in a hilly location sometimes going too slow on banked curves will cause you to slide toward the inside of the turn. I had one situation where I had the tires turned left for a right turn trying to go around cars that lost it on the inside of the turn.
 
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Originally Posted By: spk2000
There are tires that are pretty good on ice but they are somewhat like a sponge. Soft rubber with lots of sipes that hold pretty decent on ice. They are not good on dry weather and wear out quickly.
I just got a set of Bridgestone Blizzak WS80s on my GS. They certainly fit this description... but they are great. No problems to report so far.
 
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Originally Posted By: Pop_Rivit
A large dose of common sense is one of the best methods to improve safety when driving in icy conditions.
Bingo! People just need to learn how to drive. Winter driving and "timid" or "cautious" is a recipe for trouble. These are the people who should just stay home. They are the ones in a Prius who decide to be "safe" and hit the brakes just before they are ascending a 12-19% pitch. And they end up with a huge line of cars behind them, all stuck, because they don't know how to drive in some snow. And I'm speaking of cars for the most part. I know us guys in trucks can be over aggressive as well....but I drive my Camry in snow often, and it's usually some other car with front wheel drive that does an idiot move (like stopping mid incline) that causes the havoc for everyone else.
 
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Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: ecotourist
Originally Posted By: KGMtech
The best thing to do is nothing if you hit icy roads, I really mean nothing abrupt. No quick moves, no hard brakes, nothing to upset the balance of the car. Panic moves by the idiots in front of you will require you to smoothly drive around them. I had this happen a few times, I de-clutched, let the speed fall off naturally and drove around all the idiots littering the road. And I stayed on the crown of the road when possible. A fresh change of underwear, and you can continue your journey :o)
This is good advice. Develop a sense for when you're on ice - there is a feeling that the car "just got light". You can often sense ice before you can see it. Get 4 wheel snow tires - optimized for ice (rather than snow) if you prefer. Finally, when you're driving in possible icing conditions, take it easy. Don't count on having traction. The nut in the 4 wheel drive that passed you at high speed may be sitting in the ditch up ahead (hopefully upright) wondering what happened.
Even driveline drag can be enough to lock a wheel on ice or wet snow and then the wheel is unable to provide lateral location.
 
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Originally Posted By: supton
I have to wonder if having an outdoor thermometer would help. I wonder why they don't use an IR thermometer to find road temp on high end cars... Anyhow, Treated roads won't freeze until road surface gets to what, 25F or so? But at least there is a heads up if you can see the temp drop to freezing. Maybe one is worth installing?
Thing is the week after a storm when roads are white with dried salt, you can get a snowbank melting then ponding or crossing the road where drainage is poorly engineered. This will wash the salt off and be a nasty surprise. Also, usually, you can just coast over the ten feet of drama as long as you keep your wits and don't make sudden moves. The issue is when this is on a curve or at an intersection. Just takes experience... both in general and with your route.
 

niero

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Awesome advice, all. Couple more questions. What is "driveline drag?" Do you mean down-shifting, and letting the tranny slow you down? What is the crown of the curve on a road? I agree it really all comes back to being smart and cautious. What always amazes me is when I'm going slow in bad winter weather, with 4WD, and some lightweight car, either FWD or RWD, flies past me. At the end of the day, you can't argue with physics. Oh, and good points about patches of ice on dry roads under an overpass; I usually have cruise control on on dry roads like that. I'll have to watch for those patches and turn it off. Oh, and I think my snow tires are Michelin Winterforce. Hopefully I can go back to Blizzaks next year when these wear down enough. That Tyre Grip doesn't seem that great, but might be something to have in the Jeep as an emergency. I wonder if once more of this upcoming nanotechnology evolves that it will result in better gripping tires. Those would probably be some spendy tires, though. smile Edit: Oh, and thanks, MNgopher - I didn't actually know studded tires were illegal here.
 
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Originally Posted By: shinyWheels
If you're driving in a hilly location sometimes going too slow on banked curves will cause you to slide toward the inside of the turn. I had one situation where I had the tires turned left for a right turn trying to go around cars that lost it on the inside of the turn.
Absolutely right and not just in hilly country. The bank of a curve results in there being an optimal speed. If you go too fast you'll go off the top edge, too slow and you'll go off the bottom edge. One of my physics professors used to speak with pride about having driven fast enough to get around a steeply banked curve on icy pavement. The tricky part is that going too slow is almost as bad as going too fast - I say "almost" because a slow speed crash or off road excursion is generally better than a high speed one. Curves with optimal speeds other than the limit used to be posted with the recommended speed - ie the optimal speed. But I don't think this is done always or everywhere.
 
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Originally Posted By: ecotourist
This is good advice. Develop a sense for when you're on ice - there is a feeling that the car "just got light". You can often sense ice before you can see it . . .
That's true of vehicles with decent steering feel, where the force required to turn the wheel is directly related to the grip and load on the tires. But manufacturers have been moving away from steering feel in the last few years, and a modern vehicle with any useful communication of tire grip is becoming a rarity. If it's possible the road ice could be smooth and wet, you need to either have studs or drive cautiously.
 
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