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Idiots without / who can't put on chains & think winter tyres will be ok

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@DB, the graph in your video implies a good pair perform as well as snow tyres. I wouldn't want to rely on them but I'd imagine they would work in most cases for your once a year skier
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
rob@rar wrote:
BobinCH wrote:
Consensus of most people on here driving regularly in the mountains seems to be if you’ve got a 4*4 and proper winter tyres don’t bother with chains. Anyone disagree?
Never needed to fit chains to my AWD fitted with winter tyres to make progress up hill. Have a set of snow socks in with the spare tyre as an insurance policy, but can't imagine having to use them as various snowmageddon type situations have not caused a problem so far.


I wouldn't bother Rob as snow socks will make a 4x4 with winter tyres worse on the snow, chains will give better performance.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Fri 29-12-17 19:53; edited 1 time in total
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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?
Boris wrote:
@DB, the graph in your video implies a good pair perform as well as snow tyres. I wouldn't want to rely on them but I'd imagine they would work in most cases for your once a year skier


Yes good snowsocks are a cheap alternative for tourists who are only likely to need a bit of added traction over summer tyres for a short distance, but they are not a snow chain alternative. Not sure about France but in others countries (Austria, Germany & Switzerland) snowsocks are not a legal alternative either.

A good pair of snow socks perform almost as well as winter tyres but no where near as well as chains.
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@DB, some types are legal in France

I'm a big fan of winter tyres and chains, but socks would seem to be a good compromise and better than getting stuck
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Boris wrote:
@DB, some types are legal in France

Are they a legal alternative to winter tyres or chains?

Boris wrote:
I'm a big fan of winter tyres and chains, but socks would seem to be a good compromise and better than getting stuck


I'm not a big fan of snow socks because at the end of the day people are saving themselves hassle of putting chains on but putting others at risk and causing other people hassle when they do eventually get stuck. Some chains are even cheaper than snow socks but perform much better. The cheaper snow socks don't perform any where near as well as winter tyres.

Snow socks are just a fabric and they wear out very quickly so in deep winter conditions like we have at the moment in many instances it just delays the time at which they get stuck. Getting stopped by the police or getting stuck means the same thing. (Taxi, unload car & hotel, most likely missed skiing day, possible car recovery costs).

When people travel on long journeys to the alps they have so many things of value in the vehicle most of all the passengers (family / friends) my view is safety shouldn't be compromised esp. when somebody else's safety is being compromised too.

My car isn't worth much but I buy the best winter tyres and chains I get can my hands on for the above reasons. If I lived in the UK again and traveled over to the alps there's no way I would risk it with summer tyres and a set of snow socks. I'd rather get kitted out with proper tyres / chains as you have done or fly.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Fri 29-12-17 16:01; edited 1 time in total
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@under a new name, @LaForet, I confess that was exactly what I thought, i.e. that all winter tyres are created equal. However, there was a thread here a few months/years back that pretty much convinced me that there was a subtle difference between mountain/snowflake tyres and those which were even more specifically designed for snow as opposed to just cold weather. I remain a little sceptical.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@DB,
Quote:

Are they a legal alternative to winter tyres or chains?

Chains.


Quote:

When people travel on long journeys to the alps they have so many things of value in the vehicle most of all the passengers (family / friends) my view is safety shouldn't be compromised.

My car isn't worth much but I buy the best winter tyres and chains I get can my hands on for the above reasons. If I lived in the UK again and traveled over to the alps there's no way I would risk it with summer tyres and a set of snow socks. I'd rather get kitted out with proper tyres / chains as you have done or fly
Sadly, safety is always a compromise. You say that your car 'isn't worth much' which implies that it may be older/cheaper and therefore be less well equipped with safety features compared to a brand new, top of the range, Bentley or Range Rover or whatever. If you really don't wish to compromise on safety, then you would take the plane to the Alps, not drive. You wouldn't even go skiing. ....and so on... Choosing to use snow socks instead of winter tyres seems a sensible compromise for some people, especially as your summer tyres might be significantly safer for much of the drive down through France.
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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!
I believe these are easier to fit than a snow sock, what's approx 200 quid when it is much safer than a bit of fabric or plastic net?


http://youtube.com/v/Op06sHc-eDI
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@DB, I don't disagree with you, but for thousands of UK, Dutch, Belgium and Northern French drivers they will never encounter anything other than clear roads but a bit of slush - it's unfortunately rare that we get huge dumps of snow around busy periods.

Given the last 5-10 miles of an 800 mile journey may be tricky, I can understand why people opt for socks.

I'm not saying it's right, I just understand it
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Oh and AutoSock web site has this

Q12 Are AutoSock approved for use in the Alps, where "snow chains" are compulsory?
AutoSock have been approved since 2010 for use in France as an alternative to metal snow chains where the B26 snow chain signs require snow chains to be carried
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
foxtrotzulu wrote:
@DB,
Quote:

Are they a legal alternative to winter tyres or chains?

Chains.


In other alpine countries snow socks are not a legal alternative because snow socks have been tested not to be any where as effective as snow chains.


Quote:
Sadly, safety is always a compromise. You say that your car 'isn't worth much' which implies that it may be older/cheaper and therefore be less well equipped with safety features compared to a brand new, top of the range, Bentley or Range Rover or whatever. If you really don't wish to compromise on safety, then you would take the plane to the Alps, not drive. You wouldn't even go skiing. ....and so on... Choosing to use snow socks instead of winter tyres seems a sensible compromise for some people, especially as your summer tyres might be significantly safer for much of the drive down through France.


Are you saying you want to compromise the safety of yourself, your family, and others on the road for the sake of 200 GBP? ..... that's sad.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Fri 29-12-17 16:34; edited 1 time in total
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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.
Boris wrote:
Oh and AutoSock web site has this

Q12 Are AutoSock approved for use in the Alps, where "snow chains" are compulsory?
AutoSock have been approved since 2010 for use in France as an alternative to metal snow chains where the B26 snow chain signs require snow chains to be carried


You should also read all other Qs carefully
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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
philwig wrote:


Personally I'n anti-numpty, nothing more. I'd rather have an intelligent person driving in front of me than someone with a lot of toys.


Its the ones behind me I worry about more Shocked
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Boris wrote:
Oh and AutoSock web site has this

Q12 Are AutoSock approved for use in the Alps, where "snow chains" are compulsory?
AutoSock have been approved since 2010 for use in France as an alternative to metal snow chains where the B26 snow chain signs require snow chains to be carried


I understand that you understand them if you understand what I'm saying Very Happy

Sure people don't want to fork out for a full set of winter tyres for one trip.
I'm just letting people know that snow socks are not all they are claimed to be, there are alternatives that are easier to fit that cost a little more but are much more effective, safer and durable.

Just didn't expect a spanish inquisition or the snow sock appreciation society.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
DB wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
BobinCH wrote:
Consensus of most people on here driving regularly in the mountains seems to be if you’ve got a 4*4 and proper winter tyres don’t bother with chains. Anyone disagree?
Never needed to fit chains to my AWD fitted with winter tyres to make progress up hill. Have a set of snow socks in with the spare tyre as an insurance policy, but can't imagine having to use them as various snowmageddon type situations have not caused a problem so far.


I wouldn't bother Rob as snow socks will make a 4x4 with winter tyres on worse in the snow, chains will give better performance.
I have them in the car for the last couple of hundred metres of the road to my apartment which doesn't get a lot of traffic and its relatively steep (compared to the main access road to the village), when a set of socks would give just a little bit more traction than winter tyres. I wouldn't want to drive any distance on them, having previously destroyed a pair when in a rental car driving a longer distance. I have a set of Thule K-Summit easy fit chains, but I've stopped carrying them in the car as it seems unnecessary space/weight to be hauling around. They now live in the apartment, so I could collect them if absolutely necessary, but in six years of a reasonable amount of alpine driving with an AWD plus winter tyres (in some atrocious conditions) I've not come close to needing them.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Boris wrote:
@DB, I don't disagree with you, but for thousands of UK, Dutch, Belgium and Northern French drivers they will never encounter anything other than clear roads but a bit of slush - it's unfortunately rare that we get huge dumps of snow around busy periods.


Funny enough the largest tailback I ever experienced was just outside Saalbach on a sat morning as the school holidays started. I was traveling east, the tailback was on the westbound side. We are talking 10's of km and hundreds of cars.
It was a Dutch car, looked like he only had summer or M&S tyres and couldn't make the gradient. It was carnage people were getting impatient and trying to overtake almost hitting me head on. rolling eyes
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Been coming to the Alps for 11 years and never used snow chains - winter tyres on an old Mercedes C class estate (one of the worst cars in the snow surely) and normal tyres on a Range Rover Sport. The RRS has a hill decent feature which is fantastic. Go up and down 9% gradient.

Never seen the locals use snow chains - they all have a set of winter tyres that they swap to.

Perhaps I've just been lucky but there have been some pretty snowy days.
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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?
@rob@rar,

The marketing hype and french rules has led many to believe snowsocks are better than winter tyres and a match for chains - this just isn't the case. If this is the case somebody will be along shortly to prove me wrong (sound of gaulet hitting the foor wink ). There's no point you carrying the snow socks if you have AWD and winter tyres. Do the snow chains really take up so much more space than the snow socks?

Been living here for over 17 years, I too didn't understand why I had to lug chains around until I experienced my first really heavy winter conditions. Even with only front wheel drive and high quality winter tyres I have used the chains less than once per year but without them I probably would have ended up sleeping in the car on various ocassions.
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alti - dude wrote:
Been coming to the Alps for 11 years and never used snow chains
I typically have my car in the Alps for about 6 weeks each winter, and drive two or three times a week from the valley to the resort (rather than just one drive in, one drive out). Mostly conditions are benign, with the snow clearance services keeping the roads fairly clear. My apartment is at 1800m and the final part of the drive (which doesn't get a lot of traffic) frequently has some compacted snow on it, and 2WD cars with regular tyres will require chains to get up the hill. On the rare "snowmageddon" days the local police will require special equipment (chains, or I guess snow socks?) unless you have AWD and winter tyres in which case they mostly seem to wave you through. Occasionally this mandatory use of chains is from the valley floor, at 800m, for the entire approach drive to the resort. On days like that being properly equipped will make the difference between sleeping in your car / local sports hall or sleeping in your accommodation and getting ready to ski the following day.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
alti - dude wrote:
Been coming to the Alps for 11 years and never used snow chains - winter tyres on an old Mercedes C class estate (one of the worst cars in the snow surely) and normal tyres on a Range Rover Sport. The RRS has a hill decent feature which is fantastic. Go up and down 9% gradient.

Never seen the locals use snow chains - they all have a set of winter tyres that they swap to.

Perhaps I've just been lucky but there have been some pretty snowy days.


Modern rear wheel drive cars aren't too bad in the snow nowadays.

As for the Range Rover, the biggest risk isn't you getting up the hill but you being able to stop on snow/ice in case of an emergency. The braking distance with such a heavy vehicle will be massive without winter tyres.
You will probably be protected in such a big car but the people in the car in front won't stand much of a chance. Live and let live.


http://youtube.com/v/BImBV9840HM
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DB wrote:
The marketing hype and french rules has led many to believe snowsocks are better than winter tyres and a match for chains
I'm not saying that they are a match for chains, but in my experience snow socks are better than winter tyres if you are having trouble getting enough traction to get up a steep road. Yes there are limitations, mainly distance you can travel and speed you can drive at, but for my circumstances those are not relevant. As I said, they are an insurance policy for extreme conditions, although to be honest I can't imagine how bad it would need to be given the atrocious conditions that I've occasionally driven in without too much of an issue using AWD and winter tyres. When driving to my place the biggest problem is likely to be the final quarter mile, and if needs be I can walk that to grab one of the set of chains stored in my cave.

As for whether it is worth carrying chains "just in case"? For me, I don't think it is worth it, in much the same way I don't think it is worth carrying a jerry can with spare fuel. The K-Summit chains are not small (not quite as bulky as the Spikes Spiders, but bigger than the storage box regular chains come in) and after several years of hauling them back and fore to the UK and not even coming close to needing them I've decided they can live in Les Arcs. The snow socks fit in the space underneath the boot where the spare wheel lives, so take up, essentially, zero space, along with some long, sturdy gloves and a head torch and a bit of rubber mat in case I need to fit them at the side of a dark road. This plan works for me, YMMV.
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DB wrote:
Modern rear wheel drive cars aren't too bad in the snow nowadays.
I was "upgraded"to a Merc C-Class last season at GVA. Worst drive to Les Arcs ever. If they try to offer me a car like that I again I will refuse to accept it, and wait for the economy grade car I always book.
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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!
rob@rar wrote:
DB wrote:
Modern rear wheel drive cars aren't too bad in the snow nowadays.
I was "upgraded"to a Merc C-Class last season at GVA. Worst drive to Les Arcs ever. If they try to offer me a car like that I again I will refuse to accept it, and wait for the economy grade car I always book.


Traction test around 3 mins in.


http://youtube.com/v/6tRofeNXVe8&lc=Ugh4_gyP_eq-RngCoAEC
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DB wrote:
[Traction test around 3 mins in
That, sadly, was nothing like the grip I was getting with the C-Class last season. Even with just a little bit of soft snow on the road the car was all over the place. Never felt so out of control. Snow was forecast at the end of my trip and I didn't trust the car to drive the local road away from my apartment in the heavy snow which was coming in, so the previous evening I pre-positioned the car in a covered garage at the resort entrance. On the departure day I walked down the piste towards the village before dawn in order to make a quick getaway, waving to a pistebasher driver who seemed surprised to see me. It was calm and lovely walk in the falling snow, so not all bad news. But I won't go for a big RWD car again!
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rob@rar wrote:
I'm not saying that they are a match for chains, but in my experience snow socks are better than winter tyres if you are having trouble getting enough traction to get up a steep road.


Just out of interest how many times have you not been able to get up a hill in winter with your 4WD/AWD & winter tyres but managed it with snowsocks?

Re chains I can see how that works for you but I wouldn't carry the snow socks. Would you drive out on summer tyres and snow socks with the current conditions?

My chains are in the boot all winter, they are the size of a small case (my bosch drill case is around the same size). You never know when Bergfex, snowforecast.com etc will be right or heaven forbid under estimate the next dump of snow.
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rob@rar wrote:
DB wrote:
[Traction test around 3 mins in
That, sadly, was nothing like the grip I was getting with the C-Class last season. Even with just a little bit of soft snow on the road the car was all over the place. Never felt so out of control. Snow was forecast at the end of my trip and I didn't trust the car to drive the local road away from my apartment in the heavy snow which was coming in, so the previous evening I pre-positioned the car in a covered garage at the resort entrance. On the departure day I walked down the piste towards the village before dawn in order to make a quick getaway, waving to a pistebasher driver who seemed surprised to see me. It was calm and lovely walk in the falling snow, so not all bad news. But I won't go for a big RWD car again!


I'm guessing hire car companies don't put top quality winter tyres on their cars (far from it) and that will affect rear wheel drive more than front wheel drive. Sometimes they forget (read don't have time, can't be bothered, wing it) to change over the tyres - it's the drivers responsibility to check (there was a court case after an accident ocurred and the driver was found to be guilty even though the paperwork said the car had winter tyres on.)
Afterall if you can't get up a steep hill with front wheel drive a common trick is to reverse up as it puts more weight on the driven wheels and gives you more traction.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Fri 29-12-17 18:04; edited 1 time in total
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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.
DB wrote:
Just out of interest how many times have you not been able to get up a hill in winter with your 4WD/AWD & winter tyres but managed it with snowsocks?
Never failed to get uphill with AWD + winters, therefore never needed chains or snow socks. My snowsock experience has been with 2WD + winters. K-Summit chains take up more space than something like a Bosch drill case, but it's not just space, it's about carrying something which I judge unnecessary. As I said, I could probably find space in the car for a jerry can of diesel and you could imagine a situation where that might be useful, but in real world driving that would be completely over the top cautiousness. I now feel the same way about carrying chains, so stick a pair of snowsocks in the car for circumstances that I can't imagine but might come to pass.
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DB wrote:
Afterall if you can't get up a steep hill with front wheel drive a common trick is to reverse up as it puts more weight on the driven wheels and gives you more traction.
Did that to get out of my garage with the C-Class last winter, but had to do it as fast as I dared to maintain momentum from the snow-free part of the road to the snow-covered part. Was a less than pleasant experience.
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You know it makes sense.
Just think yourselves lucky you don't live in Soviet Russia!


http://youtube.com/v/CbcNQvVK9iI
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@DB, I get your point but my point was about getting up and down a hill. If you follow your line which appears to refer to driving at speed, then everyone should have winter tyres and snow chains should be banned - snow chains are only any good for a few km/h so would be of no use in your braking distance example . . . . . .chains would have been removed well before you got to a speed where an impact would cause significant injury.

@rob@rar, about the same in terms of time in the alps and and down most days so 'not a once a year charlie' !
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I've done nigh on 35yrs of driving in the Alps and have been the numpty in the early days on my annual couple of trips.

Where I live in certain conditions just winter tyres will not get you up my hill, luckily that's only three or four times a season, especially so in the last three years.

I've seen hardened experienced transfer drivers not make it up there having to begrudgingly admit defeat and drop the punters off at the bottom of the hill.

A guide mate who lives above La Grave in Les Hierres had a Renault Mini Bus with winter tyres and regularly had to use chains to get back home, and again a steep climb.

Few years back going up to Prali in bonkers snow saw locals in 4x4 pickups with chains. And again check out the road going up to Prali in places has to be 15%!

Now I have a VW transporter with 4Motion and I'm getting up my hill no issue however I keep my chains in the back just in case of that black ice on feckin steep hill!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@DB,
Quote:

Are you saying you want to compromise the safety of yourself, your family, and others on the road for the sake of 200 GBP? ..... that's sad.

Personally, I fit winter tyres to my car so we aren't talking about me. However, I am not sure you read/understood my point. Almost everything we do represents some sort of trade-off between safety and cost/convenience/enjoyment. You drive to the Alps in an older car with, presumably, less modern safety devices. Why are you endangering your family and others when you could more safely fly and take the bus or hire/buy a better car? Would you drive from England to the Alps in early March on winter tyres or summer tyres? The safe approach would be to drive to Moutiers (depending upon air temperatures) and then change. Clearly that's daft. The question is obviously what is an unacceptable trade-off between safety and cost/convenience/enjoyment and the answer will vary from person to person. That same £200 might be better used on new helmets / better helmets / better health insurance / a night in a hotel to avoid a snowy drive up the hill etc. I'm a great believer in winter tyres but assuming budgets are limited then, as the graph proved, good snowsocks are a reasonable substitute for winter tyres.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@rob@rar,
Really does sound like it either had poor quality / worn winter tyres or summer tyres on it.

Glad we agree snow socks don't perform as well as chains. We don't appear to agree that snowsocks are no better than winter tyres. I've put up a YouTube Clip to back up my claim ("do snow socks really work"), let's leave it at that.
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One interesting observation is that several people have talked about how they have driven in the Alps for years and never/seldom needed snow chains. I've been driving a car for years and never needed my seatbelt. Would it be OK to remove it?

The implication from reading many posts is that the only purpose of snow chains is to help you to move. Surely they also have a role in helping you to stop/steer/remain in control as well? This report suggests that snow chains on all four wheels reduces your stopping distance by >50% compared with snow tyres, and by 25% when fitted to just one axle. Isn't that a good enough argument for fitting snow chains in some situations before you need them?

http://www.4x4abc.com/ML320/ml_chainss.html
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@DB,
Quote:

We don't appear to agree that snowsocks are no better than winter tyres. I've put up a YouTube Clip to back up my claim ("do snow socks really work"), let's leave it at that.
I was convinced by your clip that they aren't as good as chains. I am just unconvinced that they aren't a reasonable substitute for snow tyres for some people.
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DB wrote:
@rob@rar, Really does sound like it either had poor quality / worn winter tyres or summer tyres on it.
Maybe, I had a quick check and they seemed OK, but the experience was so awful I wouldn't be surprised if the tyres were poor (disappointing from Hertz, if that was the case).
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@foxtrotzulu, it's one thing typing sound logical advice / statements from the comfort of your home that one can't disagree with however it's completely different scenario in "real time" at 21:00, blowing a blizzard and you're pretty damn sure* you can make it Toofy Grin

* based on experience and calculated risk assessment
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
@DB,
Quote:

We don't appear to agree that snowsocks are no better than winter tyres. I've put up a YouTube Clip to back up my claim ("do snow socks really work"), let's leave it at that.
I was convinced by your clip that they aren't as good as chains. I am just unconvinced that they aren't a reasonable substitute for snow tyres for some people.


If it's a cost issue buy a set of snow chains that are cheaper than the snow socks.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_nr_n_0?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A248877031%2Cn%3A303626031%2Ck%3Asnow+chains&sort=review-rank&keywords=snow+chains&ie=UTF8&qid=1514570652&rnid=248878031&tag=amz07b-21

If it's a hassle issue than buy a more expensive set of chains that are easier to fit.

When the German equivalent of the AA/tested the snowsocks they lasted around 60 miles before they shreaded (I'll try to find the report and translate it) how is that a good alternative?


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Fri 29-12-17 19:12; edited 2 times in total
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@foxtrotzulu, your seatbelt example is specious.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
One interesting observation is that several people have talked about how they have driven in the Alps for years and never/seldom needed snow chains. I've been driving a car for years and never needed my seatbelt. Would it be OK to remove it?


Not a good analogy . . . . or even an analogy.
snow report



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