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Tips For Extreme Cold Driving?

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Well here we are in Montana for three weeks in a rented 5 door Rav (which has diff lock - is that standard on UK Ravs now?) and it is gradually dawning on us that it gets cold here - as in minus 20 Fahrenheit which I think is about -30 degrees Centigrade

So, any tips (apart from flying to the Bahamas)?

I am also concerned whether the car it will start after being left out all night (no garage). Obviously we are using super strong washer fluid (rated to -25^F)

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Best tip I ever had (for driving in snow, but also applies to towing a heavy trailer);

Drive like you have NO brakes.

The Rav will do the rest

Dave

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Well here we are in Montana for three weeks in a rented 5 door Rav (which has diff lock - is that standard on UK Ravs now?) and it is gradually dawning on us that it gets cold here - as in minus 20 Fahrenheit which I think is about -30 degrees Centigrade

So, any tips (apart from flying to the Bahamas)?

I am also concerned whether the car it will start after being left out all night (no garage). Obviously we are using super strong washer fluid (rated to -25^F)

The only time I've ever experienced that sort of climate was in Western Canada. There they had electric block heaters and in car parks, places to plug them in. The skill of drivers generally was excellent, traffic lights would change and cars would slither to a stop, often at some pretty odd angles to their intended direction. When the lights changed again, everyone would move off and get back into a nicely spaced line. The trick seems to be - leave plenty of space for the unexpected and drive gently.

The block heaters were great as the engine was pretty well warmed up before you set off so there was instant demist/deice. I believe they are available as a kit for many cars in the UK now.

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Best tip I ever had (for driving in snow, but also applies to towing a heavy trailer);

Drive like you have NO brakes.

The Rav will do the rest

Dave

Hit the nail on the head Dave :thumbsup:

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May be worth contacting the rental company to see if a block heater is fitted but usual clue indicating a block heater is a connector plug hanging out the front end someplace...............................

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Best tip I ever had (for driving in snow, but also applies to towing a heavy trailer);

Drive like you have NO brakes.

The Rav will do the rest

Dave

Hit the nail on the head Dave :thumbsup:

Yup, getting going in the RAV is unlikely to be a problem - stopping is another matter entirely. Slow and easy in all actions is the way to go.

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I agree totally with the NO BRAKES comment.

I have just been out in mine and just out of curiosity whilst going over Blubberhouses moor on the A59 I took a side road that had not been ploughed or gritted.

There was about 3" of fresh frozen snow lying with an outside temp of -1°

The road has a reasonable gradient on which I stopped, I set of again and "gunned it" up the gradient way faster than you would if driving normally. There was a barely detectable wiggle as it set off, but it just dug its heals in and took of perfectly under control with no drama.

I turned round at the top to come back to the main road, and braked at the same point I had previously set of from going the other way. My stopping distance was massive, the ABS took over and I eventually stopped safely, but it took MUCH longer that you would have thought.

All this was by way of experiment of course, it is far better to understand how your car and tyres etc are going to behave when you are just playing, than in a real life situation.

I went back and did exactly the same, only this time used 2nd gear to give me four wheel engine braking and did not apply any brakes until I was almost stopped. Much more predictable.

So yes drive like you have NO BRAKES, because it does seem like that going downhill in freezing snow.

Phil

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I agree totally with the NO BRAKES comment.

.................. whilst going over Blubberhouses moor on the A59 I took a side road that had not been ploughed or gritted ..............

Phil

That's a serious bit of country Phil - I've had my own "adventures" in exactly the same area. Traveled from home to Nr Masham ( via Lofthouse ) for most of one winter in about 1980. For 3 weeks the temperature was 180F.

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I know all too well what that was like.

I lived up on the moors above Grewelthorpe at a place called Ellershaw at that time. We had ten foot (and I am not exagerating) snowdrifts.

We had to wait until the JCB's had cut a way through for the milk tanker before we could get out.

I once dug my Escort van out of a snowdrift with a trials bike front mudguard, and always got home somehow, wish I had the RAV then.

Phil

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If you're driving on full snow then the diff lock will really help in the braking department but as I've opined before, it switching off at around 24mph won't help if you're going faster. If it is minus 30 then grip can be very good and quite different from our usual UK slush/thaw/freeze cycles.

As mentioned above though traction accelerating is not an issue but defying the laws of physics stopping is, even if you're confident of your tyres I'd give yourself lots of space and keep it gentle on the middle pedal.

I'm assuming the fuels will be already doctored for these conditions but you can get additives to stop freezing if required, ask a local, they'll know best.

Good luck, watch out for the wolves and have a good holiday!

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Thanks everybody! Actually, I have enormous experience driving in snow but never learn. Last year in Austria we came very slowly down our track and met a car on a hairpin bend ... and hit it.

The next day, same road we met a car absolutely hurtling up the track. I put the brakes on but nothing happened and again, impact seemed inevitable. But, with huge presence of mind, the guy put it in reverse and hurtled back down the hill until we all managed to stop

That is why we thought we would try crashing in the USA for a change

As for starting, it immediately started at 3^F (ie 29 degrees of frost) but it was unbelievably friggin cold - it only took a couple of minuted to load the car and set off but we were both paralysed with cold. Took 20 mins of full heater to recover

.

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