OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow

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OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by DaveK » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:50 am

Happy New Year!

Welcome to our first net of the new year.

This net usually occurs at about the time when we start seeing snow, more or less!!! While California is usually not a gauge for the rest of the country, is is nice to see some storms roll into the South Land and cover the mountains with the white stuff.

For us, snow is not limited to the mountains. Our favorite (high) desert areas also welcome snow. Driving to and from your favorite outdoor adventure can be a lot of fun, but doing it safely requires a whole different set of skills and equipment. We've enlisted the help of our friends from Colorado, the great Northwest, and even California, to talk about their tips and advice for driving in the snow. We always benefit from the experiences of others, so whether you are from Colorado, Oregon, Washington or even California, join the discussion with your suggestions, tips and stories. Pictures always make for a more interesting net.

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by toms » Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:17 pm

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With the snow we’ve been getting in the mountains lately, a lot of four-wheelers are itching to fire up their vehicles and go plowing through the white stuff. Whether over Cajon Pass, through Big Bear area, or just to Grandma’s house, driving off road in snow is a lot of fun. Winter driving offers its own set of challenges; the following tips will help ensure your trip is a pleasant one.

As with all four-wheeling, remember the buddy system. That is, always go out with at least one other vehicle. It’s fairly easy to get stuck in snow, and the cold just compounds any difficulties you may experience. More on that later.
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  • Make sure you pack survival gear along with food and water.
    Remember that it gets dark early this time of year, and storms can hit in a hurry.
    Check the forecast before leaving. You don’t want to get caught in the mountains during a blizzard.
    Also, cold weather reduces the output of your battery. Replace it if it’s more than five years old. Consider installing a dual battery system as well. That way you’ll have a back up, as well as a source of power in case you need to use the winch.
Pack your vehicle accordingly.
The basics include
  • a snow shovel,
  • air jack and tire chains, if you have them.
  • Brightly colored equipment is really useful in a snowy environment.
  • An ice scraper/window brush and
  • recovery equipment are a must, also.
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You’ll want some communications equipment, as well.
  • Pack ham radio gear if you have it. If not, consider getting licensed. The exam isn’t that difficult and gear is reasonably priced.
  • If you don’t care to go that route, look into a satellite phone.
  • Cell phones rarely work in the outback, so don’t count on one.
Make sure your headlights, tail lights, fog lamps, and license plate are clear of snow. As the old saying goes, you want to see and be seen.

Upon arriving, spend a few moments surveying the trail and surrounding terrain. One of the biggest problems with snow is that it covers ruts, ditches, and rocks. If you’ve driven the trail before, try to recall where the rough spots are, and avoid them. Don’t try to drive over them, as you risk getting stuck or damaging your vehicle.

Chains are great for driving in snow. They give you better traction and braking all around, and better steering up front. If you have just one set, place them on the back. Chains up front allow you to chew through deep snow, but the added braking capability could cause fish tailing. This happens a lot while going downhill on a slippery slope.
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Experiment with air pressure in your ties. On snow it is situational. Start with full air to cut through. If that doesn't work, Air down your tires to a standard off-road level. For a 31-in. tire, that would be in the 18 to 15 psi range. In extreme situations go to sand pressure - 10-11 PSI.

Start off in single file as you normally do. The lead vehicle will blaze the trail, but often becomes stuck. Plus, the engine gets packed with snow, so the vehicle doesn’t run well at lower engine temps. Be prepared to pull out that vehicle, but also rotate the vehicles to keep a “fresh” vehicle in the lead at all times and let it warm up. Besides everyone wants to have some fun.

If you get stuck, try rocking the vehicle. You can usually gain a few inches each time, which often is enough to get you onto better ground. Avoid spinning the tires if possible. That just melts the snow underneath, which quickly freezes. Then you’re in worse shape than when you started.
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If you’re still unable to drive out, use a recovery strap to pull your vehicle out. But be careful: The strap is under tremendous stress. Make sure no one is standing between either vehicle. If that strap breaks, it’ll crack the person in the head, and your trip is over. A Pull Pal® also works well in these situations.

Remember to drive slowly. As mentioned above, snow covers all blemishes in the trail. If the snow is firm enough you may actually drive on top. But more likely, you’ll cut through, and expose your vehicle to rocks and other hazards below.

Even with chains, your vehicle behaves quite differently in snow. Stopping and cornering are more difficult and braking distances are greater. Drive slower than normal and keep a safe distance between the vehicles. 4WD doesn’t offer any better braking than 2WD, despite what you may think. If you find yourself sliding one way, turn with it, but also apply some power and stay off the brakes. The 4WD traction will help pull you out of it.
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Use gentle acceleration whenever climbing a hill. Quick acceleration can cause the tires to spin, which results in an icy trail. Speaking of hills, assess the trail before descending, and make sure it’s safe to drive. Can you get back up if you had to? If not, and that’s the only way out, take a different route.

Here’s hoping your next romp through the snow is a safe and enjoyable one.
See you on the Trail!

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by toms » Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:30 pm

How to Survive in Your Vehicle Stuck in Snow

Winter has arrived in many parts of the country, and that means a hazardous situation awaits you nearly every time you get behind the wheel. You may know how to drive in snow, but do you know what to do if you were stuck in snow?

Recently, drivers on I-90 near Buffalo, N.Y., were trapped for up to 12 hours when a massive blizzard hit the area. Some cars were literally buried in snow. If you were caught in a situation like that, would you know how to handle yourself?

You don’t have to be out in the country to encounter a hazardous situation. You can get socked in while driving home from work one day. If you’re stuck, you can bet that hundreds of other motorists are, as well. Help could be hours away.

Every situation is unique, but the following guidelines apply in all situations, and could save your life. I highly recommend you copy this article to your laptop or other device. You’re likely to have that with you, but you may not have access to the Internet. A PDF copy is available here.
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Prepare for winter driving

“Safety is no accident,” as the old saying goes. We discussed that before in 10 Safety Rules For Off-Road Driving and in a related column, Your Gear Is Not Complete Without An Emergency Packet! Winter presents its own set of hazards, which require additional preparation. It starts with a survival kit. Make sure yours includes at least some of these items.

Survival Kit
More of a collection of items, a winter survival kit includes extra food and clothing, items to help you prepare food or water, signaling/communications gear, and some means to free yourself.

Food should be dry, packaged goods that have a long shelf life. These include granola bars, snack mix/trail mix, canned nuts, graham crackers, and hard candy. Thick canned food, like ravioli, may be added. Avoid soups as the can may freeze and burst. For a few extra dollars you can add military style MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) available on line and at military surplus stores.

Make sure the packages and cans are easy to open. It’s unlikely you’ll have a can opener or scissors with you.

Extra clothing can include boots, gloves, a blanket or sleeping bag, and a hat. This stuff can be bulky, so choose wisely. I pack a Thinsulate™ sleeping bag. It’s warm but thin, and compresses into a nice, small size (more likely to still be in the vehicle when I need it).

Liquids It’s easy to get dehydrated in the winter, so you should carry some liquids. Even if you normally carry a water bottle, be prepared to produce water by melting snow. (Avoid eating snow, as that will lower your body temperature.) Pack an empty soup or coffee can along with a small stove or burner. Jetboil® offers a line of nifty mini cookers. They work great with food, as well.

Communication If you become stuck, you’re likely to reach for your cell phone. Keep an extra battery pack or the cord for tapping into the car’s cigarette lighter. You should also keep some fresh flashlight batteries.

Pack a red or orange flag that you can attach to your antenna. That will help rescuers spot your vehicle. (If you don’t have a flag, a large piece of fabric will work.) A small shovel can come in handy, also. Buy the kind with a curved blade and collapsible handle.

Ham and CB radio equipment can be very useful, especially when you’re outside of cell range. If possible, take along some radio gear (but remember that ham radio requires a license). Flares are useful, too, especially at night. Have one or two in your vehicle.

Recovery Gear Consider packing small pieces of carpet or a set of Sand Ladders. Also, being stuck can be boring. Have some reading material or puzzle books with you to pass the time. Speaking of reading material, newspapers and magazines can be used for body insulation.

Get in the habit of keeping your gas tank at least half full. You’ll need the fuel to run your engine on occasion. More on that later.

Another “item” you can pack is awareness. It’s easy to get distracted or start daydreaming while behind the wheel. Memorize mile markers or street/highway signs as you pass by. You’ll help rescuers immensely if you can tell dispatch where you are. A GPS is useful to pin point your location.

What to do if you’re stuck

If you’re ever stuck in a blizzard, follow these suggestions.

1.Try not to panic. You’ll need a clear head to work yourself through this situation. Maintain your composure, and calm down your passengers as needed.

2.Stay with your vehicle. It’s a lot easier to spot from a distance. Leaving your vehicle, and the comfort and protection it offers, can be dangerous. You may think you’ll be able to get help. Odds are you’ll become disoriented and freeze to death.

3.Attach a flag or colored piece of clothing to the antenna. This helps rescuers and lessens the possibility of being hit by another driver.

4.Run the engine only 10 – 15 minutes each hour. Sure, you want to stay warm, but you need to conserve your gas. Also, the less often you run your engine, the less chance for lethal levels of carbon monoxide to build up.

5.Crack a window on the downwind side (leeward side) of the car. That air will be chilly, but it’ll also be clean.

6.Clear the exhaust pipe periodically.

7.If you decide to dig yourself out, start on the leeward side of the car. Don’t exert yourself, because you need to minimize sweating. Getting damp and cold can be deadly. Brush off the snow before reentering your vehicle.

8.As a last resort, burn your spare tire. The smoke (or fire) will be visible for miles.

Being stuck in a snowstorm can be a terrifying experience. With the proper preparation and response, you can enhance your chances of surviving and being rescued.
See you on the Trail!

Badlands Off-Road

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by KI7NAI » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:01 pm

In the Portland metro we get more ice than snow, both are different than driving on dry pavement, but an ice storm is a good reason to call in sick or have a late start.
Ice Storm 080a.JPG
ice on car and road
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This isn't just a little bit of ice that gathers in a few places, everything horizontal, vertical and in between can be covered with 1/2" or more of ice.
Ice Storm 049a.JPG
Ice gathers everywhere
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The effect is quite interesting, but this is the stuff skating rinks are made of, mother nature intends for ice to be extra slippery
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Ice encapsulatng an evergreen branch
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If you've got to go out in the ice and snow don't be one of these guys:
Driving in snow and ice is dangerous, physics will take your vehicle places your steering wheel doesn't want the vehicle to go, but it's not impossible to drive in snow and ice if you take some precautions.

1. Use chains or traction tires. Don't be that guy who thinks his 4 wheel drive can go anywhere with all season tires, although 4 wheel drive can help find traction to move forward, it doesn't give you any advantage stopping or when you're sliding sideways down a hill.
2. Stay off of hills, find another way to get home, if your house is at the top of a hill find a place to park at the bottom of the hill and walk.
3. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to drive up or down a hill put on chains or traction tires before you leave.
4. Keep speeds conservative, maintain excessive following distances, approach intersections with caution, expect that everybody else on the road will lose control at any moment. Allow plenty of time to get where you are going, a normal 20 minute commute might take an hour or more.
5. Imagine you have a raw egg under your foot, don't press the gas or brake hard enough to crack the egg.
6. Once you're moving don't stop unless you have to. If you have to stop make sure you are on level ground or slightly downhill.
7. When you are moving forward try not to turn, if you have to turn slow down, way down. Don't try to use the brakes or throttle in a turn.
8. Find a big empty parking lot and do everything your told not to do, it is frightening how quickly a car can spin out, and how difficult it can be to recover from a spin. The goal of practicing winter driving in a parking lot shouldn't be to become better at recovering from a spin, it should make you aware of how easily you can loose control and encourage caution when driving in snow and ice (and it's fun.)

Winter driving isn't always about how you drive, when you drive is just as important, I am more afraid of someone running into me than I am of running into someone or something else, I will wait until road conditions improve or most everybody else has gotten off the road before I go out, especially in ice storms. I keep a sleeping bag, change of clothes, a ski jacket/pants and waterproof hiking boots and some food and water (don't forget water expands when it freezes, don't keep full water bottles in your trunk) in my trunk all winter, if a storm hits while I'm at work I can stay at work, or stay with friends who live close to work. If I'm dumb enough to try to drive in conditions that are too bad and end up stranded (or blocked by the numbskulls who got stuck and abandoned their vehicles in the middle of the highway) I am prepared to hike the rest of the way home or to a friend's house.

I keep chains and gloves in my trunk, I have a small sheet of plywood in my trunk so I have something dry and solid to kneel on when putting on chains or I can slide it in front of the tires and sometimes get enough traction to at least get to the side of the road to put on chains. Friends who drive pickups put sand bags in the bed, the extra weight over the rear axle gives better traction and if you are stuck in ice, spreading some sand on the ice can provide enough traction to get you out.

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by DaveK » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:21 pm


Driving in the snow means more than just having the skills to maneuver your vehicle when the roads are covered with snow. While this is important, is is but a part of what you must prepare for. This is certainly the time for doing all of this, especially if you plan on safely getting to and from your favorite mountain or desert adventure.

Cold has gripped much of the USA and it's time to get ready. This is what the weather map looks like this week (courtesy of Weather Central):

USA map of temps 2019.jpg
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Here are some ideas of the equipment that should be part of your winter driving kit:

1. Snow Shovel

Shovels should be a permanent part of your 4x4 equipment. When room permits, having more than one is also a very good idea - a full size one and a shorty. Choices abound out there, but DMOS Shovels offer what could be the best of both worlds - a shovel that is small and compact (like a shorty) but has the strength and capabilities of a full size. Their Alpha-2 is one such shovel and it is particularly suitable for snow and ice. Here is what they say:
Never before has a shovel been worthy of your truck or expedition build. Capable of being used around your home, ranch, or office, the Alpha 2 is made to go with you, for wherever and whenever you need a big, beefy, full-sized tool.
Let's face it. When you have 35" tires, you don't need an e-tool. And, most hardware or "off-road" shovels (which are just hardware store shovels with paint) don't have handles long enough to get under your vehicle if you're high centered. Furthermore, at 18 x 14 x 3, that's one big blade that can move a lot of material. And with DMOS's signature teeth to break through hard pack, ice, and dirt, this shovel will be your go-to recovery gear as well as everything shovel. Like all DMOS, the Alpha 2 is made with T6 6061 aircraft grade aluminum that won't break or rust or bend.
*Even if you THINK you will never get stuck, nature happens.
The shovels are all made in the USA, and more information and product details are available from the DMOS website - https://dmoscollective.com/collections/ ... a-2-shovel

DMOS Alpha-2.jpg
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DMOS Alpha-2b.jpg
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2. Don't be this guy

This one is simple. Don't do this:

What not to do 1.jpg
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What not to do 2.jpg
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Surprisingly, the solution is both simple and easy. Several companies make vehicle covers, which when installed on your rig, make it easy to clear your front and rear windows. Amazon seems to sell many, see: https://www.amazon.com/SnowOFF-Car-Wind ... ield+cover.

SnowOff Cover.jpg
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3. Snow and ice mats

For all those times when you have to get out of the warm and comfy vehicle to install chains or make repairs, having a mat on which you can kneel or sit, without snow or ice, sure makes for a much more pleasant job. The solution is cheap and the mats are easy to stow in the vehicle. For about $26 you can get a no-slip Ice carpet which adheres firmly to the moisture In the Ice and snow. (measures 10 Feet Long X 30 Inches Wide.) Amazon sells 'em here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008R ... 3c0caaa30c.

Snow Mat.png
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4. Traction is important, not just for tires

Getting out of the vehicle when it is snowing or when ice covers the roads or ground, isn't always fun or safe. Walking on slick and slippery surfaces when it is very cold requires footwear that keeps your feet on the ground. Good boots clearly help, but there are times when a little additional help is in order. The STABIL company (https://stabil.implus.com/product/stabil-walk) makes a pair of cleats, which are meant to attach to your boots, which do just that, all for about $22.00, Here is what they say:

Featuring multi-directional cleats, the STABILicers® Walk provides everyday peace-of-mind throughout the winter months. Fitting easily and securely over your shoes or boots, walk with confidence over snow-covered pavement and icy gravel.

Winter conditions create a challenge for daily chores, but with the Walk, shoveling the driveway or walking the dog becomes more enjoyable and much safer. Carry the Walk with you wherever you go — this versatile cleat folds easily and is small enough to keep in a pack, purse, or in your car.
Stabiliser cleats.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by Diesel4x » Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:39 pm

Thanks for early check in, KF6KOC Randy.

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by NotAMog » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:14 pm

Please check-in -

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Bruce - KD6GCO

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by JackM-KK6WXQ » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:45 pm

Hello All,

Online Check-In for

Jack - KK6WXQ
Kevin - KK6DGL
John - KM6FXI

Thanks so much.

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by cruiserlarry » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:38 pm

Please check me in for tonight's net - Thanks !! :mrgreen:

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 10, 2019 - Driving in the Snow


Post by kevinhum55 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:55 pm

Count me in!



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