Greg Hewgill (ghewgill) wrote,
Greg Hewgill

my car is no snowmobile

The Insight would not be a wise choice of primary vehicle in any place where winter weather is a regular occurrence. Here in south-central Texas, one need not worry about actual winter weather more than once every few years. But shortly after midnight on saturday morning, it started to snow significantly.

I was over at paradox0220's place watching movies until after midnight, knowing full well that snow was in the forecast. By the time we left, ther was already almost an inch of snow on the cars and road. We brushed the snow off our cars and set out on the trek home.

Now, it was dark and snowing pretty heavily, yet it took me a while to realize that the main reason I couldn't see very far ahead was that my headlights were covered in snow and just accumulating more. I had to stop and brush them off a couple of times.

The Insight did not do well in those conditions for a couple of reasons. One is that the tires are made of a hard compound (for better fuel efficiency) and are quite narrow, leaving little opportunity for traction. The other is that an electric motor offers full torque even at the lowest engine speeds. So no matter how gently I pushed on the accelerator, I was always getting too much torque. Torque, of course, is what breaks tires loose and I sure was doing a lot of that. Fortunately, I was able to get enough traction after stopping at lights to continue on my way home.

The most difficult part of the trip was climbing the last hill into my neighborhood. I got about a quarter the way up the hill when I lost forward momentum. Whenever I tried to go forward, I would instead slide closer to the edge of the road. Fortunately however, when one wheel dropped into the gutter, I noticed I had some traction again. I guess the rough road edge, combined with a limited slip transaxle, worked together to allow me to make it up the hill. I'm sure that wasn't good for the transaxle, but I just wanted to get home. I realized later that it wouldn't have been a big deal just to park the car in the parking lot at the bottom of the hill and walk the rest of the way home, but oh well.

Now, I'm sure all you non-Texans are laughing at all this excitement, but I just have to remind you that I grew up in Canada and snow is nothing unusual to me, but it's been about 12 years since I've had to deal with it much.

Rain makes me smile. Snow makes me positively giddy!
Tags: driving, weather

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