Crash course in snow management



I just got back from walking down my street at 7 am in the dark (Happy Winter Solstice) with bikers negotiating the snow and cars taking the onramp to the motorway near my house at 30 km/h like well-behaved cars.

So far, buses are generally not running. I’m guessing they don’t sport winter tires or radials (aka four-season tires). Putting winter tires on your car once every 10 years is not practical or good value for money in the Netherlands. Yes, they are tons of accidents, literally piling up (pardon the pun). My neighbour goes skiing every year in Austria and just switched tires because they are mandatory in winter in Germany, and has to drive through there.

Trains are running minimally, so I bet the delays are really nasty. Many taxis won’t be driving around and so people trying to get to work are going to have to come up with dog sleds or walk. Speaking of trains, while I whine about not being able to woosh to Paris at a proper speed, the famous Eurostar train that runs in the Chunnel between Britain and France has been cancelled for days now, never mind the people who were trapped in it Friday night.

And then there’s the airplanes. North American and European airports all have tons of delayed flights, as well as airports just closing shop all together like in Belgium, as seen on Dutch telly. Picture stranded passengers off to visit friends and family for Christmas, tired and sleeping on airport benches.

I still don’t understand why the Netherlands can plan for terrorist attacks that will probably never happen, but plan so little when it comes to serious snow, a more realistic situation. In real Northern countries like Norway and Canada, sure we’re having problems getting around too, but if we were to shut down the country for a bit of snow at just -1 Celsius, we might as well dismantle all Scandinavian countries, Russia, Canada and the Northern United States.

Granted, de-icing planes is international and trains can’t deal with autumn leaves properly (I still don’t understand why), but winter tires on buses, cars and taxis would have avoided many problems so far, methinks.

Again, we really seem to stink at planning ahead realistically. I’m loving all this snow, but then I have a home office. This was the view outside my window yesterday. And just as I finished writing this, it started snowing again.



  1. Neil says:

    Great post today Orangemaster. We had a big snow storm on the east coast of the US Saturday overnight. Here’s a nice photo taken in the public garden in Boston yesterday. That a statute of George Washington on his horse.

  2. Orangemaster says:

    Nice! The commons; I’ve been there :) The Eastern United States got hit hard my dad in Québec told me.

  3. Eric says:

    “radials (aka four-season tires).”

    These two are unrelated. “Radial” refers to the construction of the tire, not the weather condition it’s made for.

    “trains can’t deal with autumn leaves properly (I still don’t understand why),”

    Wet leaves stick to the rails and make for slipping wheels when a train tries to accelerate or break. Slipping leads to the dreaded “square wheels” phenomenon.

    “but winter tires on buses, cars and taxis would have avoided many problems so far, methinks.”

    Taxis and lots of cars have 4-season tires, which should be sufficient for the winter conditions in the NL. As for buses, I guess that they’re on 4-seasons, too, but I can very well imagine that bus companies don’t change the tires until they’re practically slicks: bus tires are expensive…

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