These might help

All the snow has disappeared around London, but last week, a few days were a bit dicey on the roads. London has been much less affected by the snow than most other parts of the country. Last year when I was driving over the North Downs on the M25, we had thick wet snow, which turned the road into a skating rink and I had the most frightening drive of my life. How can we cope with this kind of weather? Snow chains are OTT and wreck your tires and road on bare surfaces. I was talking to a friend on mine yesterday who has bought some “Auto Socks” for his car. This looks like the ideal solution for the occasional snow that we suffer from in this country. I’ve not bought any yet, but will. I can’t tell you how well they work, but they must be worth a try.

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14 thoughts on “These might help”

    1. I think chains are a no-no on our roads, both from the perspective of wrecking the roads and potentially wrecking your tyres. I’m sure these are not as durable, but they are not that expensive and are easier to put on. I’m going to get some.

  1. They will be much less effective than chains which, while being the best product, must be a real pain to put on if you have already ground to a halt in the snow, especially if the wind is blowing hard.
    A better compromise is studded winter tyres. I used these for many years from the late 60’s to the late 90’s, only stopping when I was told I couldn’t buy them for my Mercedes E280 because it was too powerful. Not sure if that was actually the case but, since the Mercedes, I have had a Discovery and two Mercedes MK 4*4s which have proved unstoppable on chunky tyres. I had no compunction about using studded tyres on clear roads, you just need to be aware and avoid harsh acceleration, braking or cornering.

    1. My understanding is that studded tires are illegal on UK roads. Chains are undoubtedly more effective in serious snow but that is still rare in the UK not withstanding recent weather.

      1. Strictly speaking, I believe you may be correct insofar as the rules now seem to state tyres can’t be used if they cause damage to the road surface etc. Whether that could easily be proved is another matter!

  2. I bought two sets (one for my motor, the other for my better-halfs’s) online from Brindley Snow Chain Shop last week, by strange coincidence they were delivered here just as I was reading this post.

    They look and feel more durable than you’d expect when watching the various online videos. They’re well-packaged and include a pair of thin plastic gloves for keeping your gloves/mitts/hands clean when installing/uninstalling them.

    Just been back to their website and noted that prices have risen by £5 since I paid for mine!

    If I get to use them during this weekend’s trip to The Lakes, I’ll let you know how they fare.

  3. Robin,

    I bought a pair of Autosocks for my Golf in the spring and have used them twice within the last couple of weeks (County Durham). The first time I genuinely needed them to get out the uncleared side street where I live and the second time was just to demonstrate them and annoy a work colleague who could not drive back up a hill to his house but I managed no problem with Autosocks fitted. I would highly recommend them. As a pre-requisite to buying them you have to ensure that you have sufficient space between the tyre and wheelarch on your particular car to get your hand in to fit the Autosock. I would say provided you fit them before you get the car stuck it takes about three minutes to fit them plus less than a minute to remove them.
    Because I had already got stuck the first time when I attempted to fit them it took ten minutes to get them fitted because as the driven wheels were spinning rather rolling they tended to pull the Autosock off as I attempted to fit the last third of each sock.

    I have also recently bought two pairs of Tubbs Flex TRK snow shoes (bought from http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com unfortunately having to use their most expensive delivery option as the cheaper one did not seem to work for UK deliveries ; also see http://www.tubbssnowshoes.com) for myself and my girlfriend Deborah which we used on the Durham Dales / North Pennines at the weekend. Unfortunately, the snow cover was on average too powdery at the moment and we quite often sank in above the knee. However, there were patches of crusty stuff that I enjoyed cruising over. I was particularly impressed with the comfortable bindings that did not slip in about 4.5 hours use and am pretty certain that even a floatier snow shoe would have broken through a lot in those conditions. Also, I was pleased to discover that on flat and rolling ground you don’t seem to need trekking poles as a necessity. MSR Lightning snow shoes may be a bit better and have a supplementary flotation tail option but these Tubbs were a fraction of the price and at about 1630 grammes / pair for the mens they are a competitive weight.

  4. Robin – I ordered these 2 weeks ago and arrived here today in the delayed post. I will try tomorrow and let you know how I get on with them. I have got about in my wife’s 4 x 4, but my rear wheel drive car is totally useless in ice and snow. In the past I have not got out of my drive, yet alone the our Lane !
    I hope they work !
    Mark

  5. Thanks for the tip. I was almost stuck in the Dales – in a steep valley – with snow covered roads up either side – only just escaped on my wide sporty tyres – so these may be just the ticket for those sorts of emergencies. I was considering specialist winter tyres at a cost of about £1000 – it’s a no-brainer really 🙂

  6. Hi Robin,
    I posted this to my mate in the Lakes as i thought that they would suit him too. Low and behold he tells me that the Post Office are using them up there.

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