Had to make a long haul up Interstate 5 delivering my Mom’s Dodge Nitro, Dog and Cat up to Portland Oregon. Weather looked good on the start of the trip, and this time instead of doing a straight through run I crashed with the animals at a Extended Stay Motel. Up early the next day and get a call that there’s a blizzard in southern Oregon and to be careful.
The coincidental part of this trip is I had just put on some new snow tires, not M&S, but really snow tires as it’s needed where I was going. So my worries about driving 80 mph on snow tires was mostly averted. The tires choices were Bridgstone Blizzak’s or General Altimax Arctic’s. The Altimax’s had better ratings and were lower cost so I went with those. Honestly I’m sure either would be fine, but lower cost of the General’s sealed the deal. Tires were ordered from the Tire Rack and they were here in a couple of days. I mounted and balanced them and was on the road shortly after I loaded up the car with beef jerky, pretzels, and other crap food.
One noticeable trait of the snow tires is that they are really really soft! I mean, softer then my track tires. I would love to get a set of these on a car and try them at the drag races to see how sticky these tires are. I’ll bet they work really well!
So back to the travel story…
After hitting the blizzard conditions right when entering Oregon I figured I would test out the snow tires, no one around so did the fast driving, quick stopping and other squirrely maneuvers with very surprising result – Snow tires kick ass in the snow! Ice is another story, but nothing works on ice except studs and chains.
Now to the stupid part, people are generally very careful in snow and ice conditions, well most people. You see that guy in the lowered Honda Civic, or Audi all wheel drive with summer performance tires hauling ass. Hey knock yourself out (literally). But enter the trucker, without exception these guys drove thoughtfully and with caution…mostly. With so many cautious driving trucks the idiots truckers that don’t drive safe really stand out. Scary how fast some of these guys were driving, and right off the road were some carnage of jack knifed trucks. I guess they have a deadline who knows. I ended up having to use 4wd mode a few times, but really didn’t need too, the snow tires did an excellent job. One thing to note is that they were quiet and stable at 80mph on open highway, although I would expect them to have a high wear rate in that condition.
I ended up seeing only a few overturned, spun out, and jack knifed cars and trucks which was amazing given how much of the road was ice and not snow. It’s painful driving 100 miles at 40mph on chain gouged snow. Not fun. Once into the Portland area roads were mostly clear and driving became fast again.
Snow tires, hell yes, worth the change if you hit those conditions, stupid drivers in the snow, hell yes if you hit those conditions.