Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Coping with winter

Finns have an interesting way of dealing with winter that differs from how we deal with it in the US.

Studded snow tires are required during the winter months.

Rather than liberal use of salt, the Finns use crushed granite and gneiss from local quarries. The deep reds (due to the feldspar) of the rock makes the gravel quite apparent on the snow and ice. When the snow melts and refreezes, the gravel gets caught in the ice, making for good traction.

The worst slipping condition for pedestrians I've noticed is when rain falls on snow, even if it doesn't refreeze.

The government and private-sector organizations responsible for plowing and snow removal generally do excellent jobs clearing sidewalks and roads, even on less well-traveled areas. It's really pretty remarkable. Once again, most US cities should hang their heads in shame.


At 6:28 PM, Blogger Aulikki said...

Actually, we need not to have studded tyres, just winter tyres. After 28 years' of driving with studs I finally found out last winter that the non-studded "friction tyres" are just as good, if not even better. There has been a debate going on about the pros and cons of these different types for years. I think that friction tyres are good for heavier car with wider tyres. The only case where I could wish for studs would be freezing rain, but that is actually very rare an event. (Freezing drizzle is much more common but you can cope with it just by adjusting your speed).

At 3:43 PM, Blogger Ex-Expats said...

The stone product is called grit and they use it also in other exotic places like Minnesota and Scotland.

A Scottisch proverb is
"All those gritters. It's not cold !"

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Ex-Expats said...

A meteorological comment:
grit sinks in ice also because it is dark, and thus absorbs Sun's radiation. No need for snow melting and refreezing.

Gritting is now under debate, because in April the remaining dry snow crushed under cars' wheels is a source of small particles and bad air quality. Wait and see.


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