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Driving down for Feb half term

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Poster: A snowHead
We're sailing Hull - Zeebrugge on Friday 14th, dock around 8am refreshed and ready to drive to our apartment. We do it in one go going down but 2 coming back as there's only 1 ferry per day and I'm paranoid!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I love the all night drive, it gets me really hyped for the holiday - far more than going by plane. The deadspot for me, though, is probably between 2-4am. However, once through that you can tell yourself that within 3 hours the sun will be rising over the mountains and you'll have arrived in resort ready to grab breakfast and then out into the mountains.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
boredsurfin wrote:
@Boris, Laughing I thought 3 sounded more realistic - truth his they come blasting past me doing 130kph Cool vanish into the distance and then later they come blasting past again and then a while later they come blasting past again - one year I saw the same Range Rover filling up at Chambery on the way back but strangely didn't see it again! (I only fill up my 4x4 once on the trip)

Had a lot of fun on the Sunday morning From Troyes back to Calais earlier this year. Follow one Range Rover/Disco at about 130kmh until it pulls into services then latch onto next one.
Like a land rover tag relay.
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Page23 wrote:
The deadspot for me, though, is probably between 2-4am. However, once through that you can tell yourself that within 3 hours the sun will be rising over the mountains and you'll have arrived in resort ready to grab breakfast and then out into the mountains.


Psychologically/physiologically it does re-invigorate you. The body gives up persuading you to sleep, and then, with the sunrise, concedes "Well, you might as well go into full 'don't feel tired at all' mode then!"

Obviously, those folk who do start weakening to persuasion should stop at the next services and either change driver, kip in the car, or grab an espresso and re-program the satnav for the nearest motel.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Page23 wrote:
The deadspot for me, though, is probably between 2-4am.


Recalling from a road safety conference and some studies, the time when most people fall asleep at the wheel is about 1am or just after lunch. Muttering about biorhythms and body clocks. The suggestion was don't set off at 10pm and aim to drive through that period until 3am, but change drivers around that time; most people will have their eyes closing, or will have woken up from a sleep starting at 10pm and are refreshed. YMMV...
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This is such a great thread, I driven down so many times but by reading all the posts you can feel the excitement building.

Good call on doofer batteries, I’ve had my latest one three years so worth checking.

I’m trying flexiplus out this time to see how much smoother it is before committing to buying 10 frequent travellers for the next 12 months.

Can’t wait to get going!!

Ps safe driving to all, especially to the all nighters!
ski holidays     
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Never driven through night but have had to do a few night shifts with work. Would agree 2-4 is the worst time for nodding off

Like my sleep so overnight sleep and early start for me
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After driving back France from yesterday, can 100% recommend using the WAZE sat nav- its free to download to phone iPad etc Its especially useful warning of 'enforcement areas' and 'Police ahead'. Obviously its illegal to warn of Speed Cameras in France Madeye-Smiley
You can leave it running just for warnings whilst using another sat nav as well.
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Very Happy
@boardsurfin
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@rwilson, your experience of Flexiplus at half term won't necessarily representative of the service for the rest of the year. The lounge will be mobbed and there will be lots of passive aggressive queuing for the sandwiches. Last year, we even had to queue for the car park (full of range rovers, discos and XC90s). To Eurotunnel's credit, we still got through quickly and the food was kept well stocked. It was quite busy coming back at new year, but most of the time when we use it, it's empty.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Orange200 wrote:
Page23 wrote:
The deadspot for me, though, is probably between 2-4am.


Recalling from a road safety conference and some studies, the time when most people fall asleep at the wheel is about 1am or just after lunch. Muttering about biorhythms and body clocks. The suggestion was don't set off at 10pm and aim to drive through that period until 3am, but change drivers around that time; most people will have their eyes closing, or will have woken up from a sleep starting at 10pm and are refreshed. YMMV...


Absolutely - one has to be cautious. It's time for a stop/coffee/and driver change at that point. However, beyond that the excitement is full on!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I've managed to wangle getting the kids out earlier from school on the Friday - I approached the Head and took the honest approach and she was/is happy for them to leave at lunchtime. We have a flexiplus pass so could be on the tunnel as early as 16:00. We are driving to Val D and in the past have just done all night since we don't usually cross until around 20:00. However, with this recent good news, I'm wondering if it's worth stopping for a few hours, 6-7 hours in. However, I'm sure most places may well be booked up. We have 2 young children (5 & 7) and my thoughts are that by the time we get them in and settled, that due to starting again early to finish off the journey into resort the next morning, it's not really worth it. Thoughts?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
That's weird. Either you get two thirds of the way there and stop, or you go on and risk arriving at 3am...

My guess is children that age would sleep all night in the car if well prepared, buzzing the next day as they arrive in the snow, and just force them into bed early that night to catch up what they lost. I see the question is more for the adults!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Page23, as @Orange200, says crossing at that time might leave you a little bit in limbo.

At 5 & 7 with plenty of cushions and blankets the kids should happily sleep through in the car.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:


After driving back France from yesterday, can 100% recommend using the WAZE sat nav- its free to download to phone iPad etc Its especially useful warning of 'enforcement areas' and 'Police ahead'. Obviously its illegal to warn of Speed Cameras in France
You can leave it running just for warnings whilst using another sat nav as well.

Yep, have used Waze for several years now, it has often got us round major traffic jams in Chambery and Albertville by taking us on back roads when it knew there was gridlock ahead. One year we were 2 hrs behind our mates at BeB, they stayed on the autoroute round St Exupery and Waze took us cross country - we arrived in resort 1 hr before them Very Happy Very Happy
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Poster: A snowHead
So, what speed does everyone like to set the cruise control at (and not get a ticket)?

I tend to pin it at 85mph which the SatNav assures me is only 82mph. I've never had any problems. Am I risking it, or am I leaving a few mph's on the table?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@chriswg, I don’t really like cruise, driving helps me stay alert.

FWIW I stick to 85 which as you say is 82. No tickets in 20+ years
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@chriswg, used to be the early 80's but I've realised that actually another half an hour on the road doesn't really matter and for fuel cost/environmental/safety reasons I tend to set it to mid 70's. The missus doesn't like the cruise control as much as I do but it's really handy for those overnighters on the French motorway purely for comfort and the ability to relax the leg(s).
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chriswg wrote:
So, what speed does everyone like to set the cruise control at (and not get a ticket)?

I tend to pin it at 85mph which the SatNav assures me is only 82mph. I've never had any problems. Am I risking it, or am I leaving a few mph's on the table?


Assuming you are in a 130km/h zone, I've never been stopped when keeping below 140km/h (87mph). However I have been stopped plenty of times for faster speeds so if you are planning on going faster than that you may as well take it all the way to nearly 170km/h as you will still only get a Euro 90 fixed penalty in my experience. Faster than that and the French fines are very harsh indeed - not recommended at all.

In Germany (in places where there are limits) the speed limits are enforced rigorously and have a very well defined structure (https://rechneronline.de/bussgeld/speeding-fines.php) as you would expect ! However there is still plenty of de-restricted autobahn where you can go as fast as you like Happy

Both Germany and France will send speeding tickets though the post to the UK since 2017.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
As fast as I can get away with, means I'll set it at about a GPS-indicated 140, hoping for the 10% tolerance (I'm usually in Spain with a limit of 120).

Layne wrote:
@chriswg, used to be the early 80's but I've realised that actually another half an hour on the road doesn't really matter and for fuel cost/environmental/safety reasons I tend to set it to mid 70's.


Very fair comment. In my previous car I noticed that the difference between about 70 and 80 was incredible on fuel consumption. I know about wind resistance squared, but I felt it was something to do with the engine revs, eg the lower speed didn't use a turbo/cam/whatever and the higher speed did.
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Why the rush?

It’s a long way and will take some time so plan accordingly. These days we drive at about 110 kph (indicated) with half an eye on the mpg meter. This saves worrying about whether it’s raining or not too. We swap drivers every two hours and there’s a bit of rivalry to keep the mpg up. Last time we averaged over 73 mpg for the whole trip - and that included driving up and down some mountains and the scenic route over the Jura on the way home.

Fuel consumption and pollution (and probably stress) increases significantly with speed:


From: https://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/05/fuel_consumptio.html
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
chriswg wrote:
So, what speed does everyone like to set the cruise control at (and not get a ticket)?

I tend to pin it at 85mph which the SatNav assures me is only 82mph. I've never had any problems. Am I risking it, or am I leaving a few mph's on the table?


130 KM/H - that's the speed limit. I can't be bothered to chance going faster and I'm happy to go as fast as permitted. Doing 110 when the limit is 130 seems unnecessary to me.

Of course, when I was younger and the French were more relaxed about limits, I used to go for well over 100 mph but the fuel figures were horrendous. As I wasn't paying, 14 mpg seemed OK to me. Hopefully I am now less foolish.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Always use Waze, have speed limiter set to 135k which is 130 actual, no problems. Last tickets I had were on the French/Swiss border near Geneva where it goes 120 90 50 30 in a pretty short distance.
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That graph is interesting, if potentially quite old. The rate of mpg decline for all the cars between 70-90 is roughly the same...apart from that Merc C180K - so is there something in having a supercharger (which I beleive those did) that helped it stay more efficient up to a point I wonder and if so why the big move to turbo's on petrol engines recently.
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@MHskier, as you say, that's interesting. The K stood for Kompressor, i.e. supercharger.
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I recently drove from Hamburg to Bremen (125km) in a fully loaded diesel Audi A4 estate, 4 big guys in it and a load of kit. It was 2am and the autobahn was deserted. Pinned it at 240km/h the whole way and drained the (tiny) 40L tank. Worked out at about 9mpg.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
MHskier wrote:
That graph is interesting, if potentially quite old. The rate of mpg decline for all the cars between 70-90 is roughly the same...apart from that Merc C180K - so is there something in having a supercharger (which I beleive those did) that helped it stay more efficient up to a point I wonder and if so why the big move to turbo's on petrol engines recently.


The supercharger of that era most likely has a flatter and longer torque distribution (petrol rev range) than a turboed diesel, allowing it to overall pull a higher ratio final drive. It's nowhere near the golf tdi at lower speeds though with anything below 100 mph in the favour of the golf. Supercharger will always have more losses compared to turbo though.

Some of the smaller 3 cylinder engines now with turbo would probably do most of the advantages combined as loosing "potentially " 25 % engine friction and improving torque with small turbo seems particularly effective.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@ski3, looking at the graph further shows how performance has improved. I do the main journey using a 3 litre diesel SUV and expect/achieve 45mpg at the speed limit of 130 kph which seems well beyond the plotted figures.

Having said that, my last car (also a 3 litre turbo diesel, but a saloon) could do the whole journey to the Alps without a top-up but it had a bigger (80 litre) tank and gave me well over 50 mpg at 130kph.
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You know it makes sense.
Alastair wrote:
@ski3, looking at the graph further shows how performance has improved. I do the main journey using a 3 litre diesel SUV and expect/achieve 45mpg at the speed limit of 130 kph which seems well beyond the plotted figures.

Having said that, my last car (also a 3 litre turbo diesel, but a saloon) could do the whole journey to the Alps without a top-up but it had a bigger (80 litre) tank and gave me well over 50 mpg at 130kph.


Note that the graph is for US gallons (3.78 litres), not UK gallons (4.54 litres). That makes a difference.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@ski3, I have the next model up of one of the cars that is available with a 3 cylinder engine. Mine has a 4 cyl 1.6L, will check what kind of mpg it does next time I'm driving out to the Alps.
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MHskier wrote:
That graph is interesting, if potentially quite old...

Given our hightened awareness of climate change you'd think that the internet would be awash with more up-to-date graphs. It appears not. The best I could manage is here:

http://www.cleanmpg.com/community/index.php?threads/49683/

More interesting reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy_in_automobiles
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@jw83113, good point well made. I need to adjust my figures but on a quick inspection they'll still be impressive compared to the graph - if not as impressive as I first thought.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
We have a Sunday to Sunday appartment in Risoul. Taking the 1.20 pm tunnel on Saturday, hoping to miss the worst of the queues and traffic which worked well a couple of years ago. Overnight stop in Tournus, then on to resort on Sunday. We will drive back in one day, taking the ferry from Calais to Dover. I’m hoping the Calais ferry terminal won’t be as horrendous as Eurotunnel usually is during busy periods.
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Alastair wrote:
@ski3, looking at the graph further shows how performance has improved. I do the main journey using a 3 litre diesel SUV and expect/achieve 45mpg at the speed limit of 130 kph which seems well beyond the plotted figures.

Having said that, my last car (also a 3 litre turbo diesel, but a saloon) could do the whole journey to the Alps without a top-up but it had a bigger (80 litre) tank and gave me well over 50 mpg at 130kph.


https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/oct/25/suvs-second-biggest-cause-of-emissions-rise-figures-reveal&ved=2ahUKEwjsqJeXlZ3nAhUPYsAKHT49BBgQjjgwAHoECAUQAQ&usg=AOvVaw0LbmCkPbzi9STe6g7rVE5K
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I just got a French speeding ticket sent by post to my UK address, 118km/h in a 110 zone, UK reg car caught on a speed camera coming from GVA to Annecy. Didn't think they had the information sharing active with the UK but what da F**K 8km/h over the limit and a 45 euro fine...

looking at the ticket the allowance they give you is 5km/H for fixed cameras, 10k/h for moving ones in a police car.

Do I ignore it or pay it ?
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@skimottaret, I pay mine, based on the risk that at some point if I don't, they will catch up with me, despite mine being in swiss rental cars driven in France, so a pretty tenuous link back to me. I also take the view that I did actually commit the offence, and I knew the rules. Mine were all 96/97 in a 90 zone.

It's only E45 for peace of mind (and a feeling that it's a bit like confessional; once you admit the whole thing, the guilt goes away Happy )
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@snowdave, +1
98 in a 90 near Reims.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Richard_Sideways, got caught doing 99 in a 90 nr Chambery at last Easter, Saturday evening after our last day in VT - was fully expecting it to be me when I opened the post as I was hooning it home north of Maçon and we were using my car, but, no, twas him.
Edit: we paid and then spent several weeks waiting for mine but seems I got away with it. We will be more fuel efficient this year as Not on such a tight schedule
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Might anyone be able to advise what time EuroTunnel queues are likely to start building up on the Saturday morning?

Having not managed to persuade other members of our party that an extra day's skiing on the Saturday outweighs the discomfort of an overnight drive down we'll be leaving in the early hours of Saturday, with me taking the first driving shift. I'm an early riser by nature.

BTW: We're planning to travel down through Switzerland and the Great St Bernard Tunnel to Aosta to avoid the queues on the route to the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
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Just got speeding ticket on the return from Winterberg to Brussels.

€10....quite happy to pay!

Would have been interesting to contest as the photo that they send you blanks out the driver....of European left hand drive cars. Ours is a UK right hand drive, albeit registered in Belgium, with the photo showing Mrs H in the passenger seat.

She has now taken to reminding me that all I need to do is get a Dutch speeding ticket and we have the full house of all the countries bordering Belgium.
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