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Old 03-18-2014, 11:30 AM   #1
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lanark , Ontario
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Towing in a snow storm

what else can come to mind this winter!!!!!
we are heading to Florida next winter. The plan is to have Christmas at home and head off on the 27th. My concern is being caught in snow and ice along the way through the mountains, or as this year showed, all the way to Atlanta.
my TV is a Yukon XL and I have a Hensley hooked up the the 31 Classic with hydraulic disc brakes. I am running a new set of LTX M/S 10 ply tires on my TV. I am really trying to be well set up for anything but what happens to these things when you hit snow and can't find a safe place to pull off. I am very used to winter driving but never with 31 feet of shinny behind me. Your thoughts and experiances would be appreciated. thanks

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Old 03-18-2014, 11:46 AM   #2
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Towing in a snow storm

I have a simple rule for my drivers, when snow and ice is on the road,,,,, park.

This is in semi's which are more forgiving as a rule than campers.

I advise to check the forecast before leaving, and route around snow and ice if possible.

If this is not possible wait it out at home, and/or stop till the roads are clear.

As a rule, patience for a couple or a few days is sufficient.

The fact that I am opinionated does not presuppose that I am wrong......

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Old 03-18-2014, 11:49 AM   #3
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Make a trip in late Oct/early Nov and leave the trailer at a storage facility in Atlanta or further south. Then come Dec, you don't have to worry about a massive storm interfering with your trip, at least with a trailer behind you.
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:32 PM   #4
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I have had plenty of opportunity to tow in snow as a trailer transporter.
That being said, most of the accidents I saw in that business were caused by drivers trying to just go "one more exit"
When it gets bad the best advise is park it. Usually roads in snow country are cleared in a few hours.
If you must tow in slippery conditions disable sway control if your device will allow it.
You don't need something trying to keep the trailer in line behind you when you want to turn a corner when it is slippery.
While I would tow in snow under some circumstances towing on ICE or in fog was out of the question.
Basically, avoid it if you can. After all it is a vacation, not something with a forced deadline
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:48 PM   #5
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We planned a trip to Florida from Maryland two years ago, and snow was definitely on our list of concerns. We had a full tank of water and a generator with us, in case we needed to stop at a rest area/Wal-Mart/whatever to avoid or ride out the storm.

We didn't hit any snow on that trip, fortunately, although a small storm did hit Washington, DC while we were on our way home. This prompted us to get as far north as we could (in our case, Fayetteville, NC, for a day total of 550 miles traveled) on the first day of travel, so that we could get a late start the following day, allowing plows/salt trucks/etc. to get out and clear the roads before we arrived. This is an example of the kinds of adjustments you can make for weather. We had allotted one extra day on each end of the trip just in case - that is, we expected it to take two days to get to Florida, but we left three days ahead, and we had an extra day of vacation scheduled the day after we expected to return in case we were late getting home.

You can always find a place to pull off - gas stations, shopping centers, rest areas, etc. If you can find a relatively level spot by an on-ramp or off-ramp, it would work. You're self contained! (Also, if it's super cold and you're carrying water, be sure the trailer stays warm enough not to freeze while you're on the road.)

I don't want to minimize the dangers of towing in snow. I'd definitely want to get off the road (or, if possible, out of the storm entirely) as quickly as possible if I hit snow while on the road, and like J. Morgan said, try to avoid the storm. With snow you usually have a couple days' warning, especially with bigger storms, so if your schedule allows, you can either go early or wait it out before departing.

My parents and I took a winter trip in their trailer one time that involved a decent snow storm that turned to ice the next morning. We pulled into a gas station and stayed there for the night, with their permission. The next morning on the interstate, we'd watch people pass us, then just slide off the road. It was kind of scary, but since we were keeping within safe speeds for the conditions we never had a problem. I assume dad had the brakes on the trailer dialed down pretty far.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:01 PM   #6
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Your Hensley (or ProPride) does not have friction sway control so there is no need to loosen it, the trailer will follow the truck through turns without resistance and still give you the advantages of weight distribution, especially traction on the steering (front) axle.

We also are experienced driving in snow and on ice. For that reason I would not attempt it with the trailer behind, I would wait for the storm to pass and the roads to be cleared.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:43 PM   #7
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As someone who has been through a wreck - it's no fun. It's costly. It will affect your insurance rates for years.

It's easy to think "I'll drive slowly and be super alert (because I'm smarter and have better reflexes than the average Joe)"

It's a LITTLE BIT more complex and a little bit more expensive to tow the trailer down early and put it into storage, but it's loads smarter.

The world won't come to an end if you just decide the weather is too awful to make the trip at all, or you're going to need to use a hotel instead of hauling the trailer.

BE SAFE, this is the only life you get, it's not a practice run or a rehearsal for the real thing. Be SAFE. If you wreck and don't care, think about how it screws up everyone else's week!

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:49 PM   #8
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Thanks to all. we are on the same page here. my plan is to watch the weather channels and dial into the national weather service before we head out. given all the best of intentions I just don't know what to expect if and when you get caught in a freak snow storm or squal. Bottom line is "park it" as soon as you can. I have a Honda 3000 invertor that will be with me just in case we have to pull off for a day or two. May as well be comfortable.
Thanks to all
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by white laker View Post
my plan is to watch the weather channels and dial into the national weather service before we head out. given all the best of intentions I just don't know what to expect if and when you get caught in a freak snow storm or squal.
Be warned… Mardi Gras weekend, I went camping. Three different sources (Weather Channel and two television stations local to the area) all predicted the overnight low for that Sunday night would be about 37°F and that would be the coldest temp of the whole four-day weekend.

Wrong! That Sunday night, the overnight low plummeted to 22°F, and it didn't warm up higher than 27°F the rest of my stay. I am so bloody lucky that the stuff that froze wasn't permanently damaged.

Keeping track of weather forecasts is all to the good, but have a Plan B in case the forecast is wrong.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:16 PM   #10
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I live right off I-75 in Central KY. I have made the trip to Florida right after Christmas several times. Aside from the chance of ice, snow, freezing fog, sleet etc. in the KY-TN mountains, almost everything on wheels is making that trip south in search of sunshine and Disney. I-75 is pretty well packed all the way down and it just gets worse after Atlanta. In the last 2 trips I've been left sitting on I-75 for hours at a time. This year is was just before the GA-FL border where a truckload of cooking oil smashed into a double overpass and ignited. They had to bring in structural engineers to confirm it was safe to go under before they could open the road up and remove what was left of the tractor trailer. We sat for 4 hours, only 5 miles from the border. Just before or just after any holiday there's usually a big accident near the I-64/I-75 splits here in Lexington.

I would advise you leave before Christmas or at least a week after. Check the weather forecasts but know that KY and TN are well known for dramatic changes in the weather. KY doesn't get much snow before New Years and they are pretty good about clearing it around major cities. It takes an extra day or so to get to the lesser populated areas.

If you have a smart phone, check the weather radar frequently and find shelter if you see a storm moving in.

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Old 03-18-2014, 08:26 PM   #11
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Since you are driving down from Ottawa, I would suggest going west to Windsor and then south on I-75 to avoid mountains till you are south in Kentucky. Going south through Buffalo will get you into mountains just south of Lake Erie. Crossing east of Kingston will get you into mountains right away as well.
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:06 PM   #12
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I had fun today spent a couple of hours getting the airstream out ,I had to break the ice on the ground for a fear the trailer would slide sideways, the area i have to pass is on a slight slope,I put some kitty litter down to make sure ,put the truck in four wheel drive and gave her, she's out ! Now I'm ready to go to jackson center ,I'm watching the weather close ,tomorrow were getting 10 cm of snow that's the reason to get the trailer out early,hope the weather is good in the next week or so , I don't want to drive in snow or salt ,just in case put a film of oil on some metal areas,Pete I will let you know what's like towing in snow if I encounter some on this trip ,I gave myself extra time to get there just in case weather is bad.
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:46 AM   #13
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We are doing what mojo said, taking the trailer down in early November and leaving it in storage near the orlando airport . I will leave the truck down as well and fly down on our vacation weeks. It's not ideal but better than having it sit inside for another New England winter. We can be in orlando in three hours from Rhode Island if we fly direct. The indoor storage is also half the price as up here.

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