The Snow Day Test Drive.

Happy New Year! It is the beginning of 2017, and it seems fitting that the first post of the year would involve a snowy test drive of the Accord. This weekend, as a winter storm moves up from the southern United States through my area, the forecast was for several inches of snow on Saturday near Philadelphia. A more severe storm is hitting the Jersey Shore this weekend, with nearly a foot of snow predicted. Saturday morning I had to run some errands and thought I would report back on how DH dealt with the winter elements.

Overall, the Accord did pretty well. The storm also reinforced the importance of proper tires. The Nokian WR G3 all-weather tires that I reviewed in a previous post did their job in the snow. I was able to climb snowy hills, take corners without a fear of a spinout, and come to a stop with no drama (and no hint of the ABS light). DH’s owners manual does recommend when starting from a dead stop on snow and ice, to shift the car into second gear, which limits the amount of torque the engine produces (hence, limiting wheel-spin: no matter what your tires, 271 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque is a lot of power to put through only 2 wheels- unleashing all of it at once can easily cause spin). One time, starting on a snowy slope, I forgot to shift up to 2nd, and instantly the traction control kicked in. I got moving, but at a snail’s pace for the first couple of yards before the car found enough grip. At the next intersection, I shifted up to 2nd after I came to a stop and when the light turned green, pulled away from the intersection with ease. Lesson learned.

I did see, in no particular order: someone skid off an exit ramp and end up on the grass median, a woman in an SUV trying to climb a hill and her vehicle fishtailing quite a bit (I went around her), a guy in a truck unable to climb another hill, and many cars stopping with their anti-lock brakes constantly working. That my journey was so drama free is a testament to the Accord’s secure ride and the design of the Nokian tires.

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My official snow-driving hat. A couple years ago, I wrote a thank you letter to Nokian for their excellent products. I received a box of swag in return, including this beanie. Don’t leave home without it.
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At the start of my drive, roads were mostly slushy and wet.
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The roads quickly deteriorated, however, getting snowier and icier as the morning went on.
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Arriving at a relative’s house briefly, with snow quickly accumulating.
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The same highway that was just wet and slushy earlier was now snow-covered. Proper following distances, people!
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Nokians = No Drama.
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The tires are actually designed to keep snow within the treads. Why? If you’ve ever made a snowman before, you know that nothing sticks to snow better than more snow. It’s a fine balance between having treads that can bite into the snow, while having deep grooves that keep snow within them to adhere to the road.
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DH, posing for his portrait. A woman in a  Subaru Outback drove past me while I was taking photos, giving me a look like,”What the heck are you doing?” She obviously wasn’t a reader of The Voyage of DH!
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Stopped by a local lake for a hike and some photos.
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The Canadien Geese, at least, seem at home in this weather.
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It really was a pretty morning.
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And it was a peaceful hike – I had the entire lake to myself.
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A nice winter scene to start the new year!
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A short voyage today of only about 50 miles, but it was interesting!

While I am certainly a believer in Nokian, I am sometimes asked which other tires I would recommend. If you are living in the worst of the snow belt, then nothing is better than true winter tires that you mount for the winter and then remove in the spring, like the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS 80, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, and the General Altimax Arctic. However, if you live in an area that sees less frequent snowfall, and roads get plowed frequently, you can look into tires like the Nokian WR G3, the Toyo Celsius, the Continental PureContact with Eco Plus, and the Continental DWS 06. Finally, for the budget-minded, the General Altimax RT43 is a cheap all-season that performs surprisingly well in winter weather.

Overall, I was pleased with the performance of DH and the WR G3 tires in the snow today. However, I also think that New Jersey is a pretty mild test for winter driving. If I lived somewhere that sees more frequent snowfall, I would probably want a vehicle with all-wheel drive (along with a set of Nokians, of course) or a set of true winter tires mounted on separate wheels like the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 tires, for increased traction in deeper snow. I hope you enjoyed this brief journey today, and thanks again for coming along on another Voyage of DH!

‘Til next time.

2 thoughts on “The Snow Day Test Drive.

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