Submitted by KevTravels t3_10wm182 in vermont

I'm coming to visit again from Louisiana (for the third time in the last 9 months) and this will be my first experience of a Vermont winter. I might rent a car to visit a pal in Middlebury and drive from Barre so just curious expectations of driving on a Vermont road through ice and snow.

Essentially, first time to drive through snow so a bit apprehensive about it.



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Nutmegdog1959 t1_j7nviid wrote

It only snows for a day. The rest of the time roads are clean. You can wait out the snow.


bluepied t1_j7oxmq7 wrote

There’s literally been 2 days I’ve had to put my truck in 4WD this season and that was just to head to the slopes.


Nutmegdog1959 t1_j7pnhkz wrote

Yeah, I've still got to get my snows on my Subie someday. I guess all-seasons aren't so bad after all if you drive reasonably. I'm city/suburban.


TheShandyMan t1_j7nxkpq wrote

> Middlebury and drive from Barre

Do yourself a favor and do not listen to your GPS when it tells you to go through Waitsfield and Bristol. Even on "good" days it's not the nicest of trips in the winter. Depending on your GPS it might also suggest Hinesburg &/or Huntington which are both better but if you've never been on snow before and there's even a chance of it on the day you go; you should absolutely take the extra time and just take 89 -> 189 to 7 (through Shelburne).


Full_Whereas_2694 t1_j7oppyv wrote

I regularly travel between Middlebury and barre and completely agree. 89/7 is the only route I’d recommend for someone who has no winter driving experience. Route 17 between Waitsfield and Barre is one of the most challenging sections of road in the state I grew up here and drive an awd vehicle and still avoid this drive if the weather is dodgy.


Loudergood t1_j7pvadm wrote

Yeah theres a reason most of the other notch roads are closed in the winter.


ADinosaurNamedBex t1_j7t3r54 wrote

This is the most important comment. Avoid anything with “gap” in the name or any roads that say trucks can’t pass. Those are signs of steep and winding roads that can be hard to pass on good days.

A note about Route 7 (the main road to Middlebury) - each town is in charge of their own snow removal, so if it snows don’t be surprised if it’s a weird adventure of totally clear and treacherous. I’ve yet to find a rhyme or reason, but it’s good to be aware.


sunlitvt t1_j7nx40i wrote

Try your best not to go out in the snow. But if you must, here are my quick tips: If the ground looks wet, it may be black ice. Give yourself extra time to stop, don’t assume others will be able to stop, and drive in lower gears. Brakes are not your friend if you are sliding.


bibliophile222 t1_j7o05t7 wrote

As others have said, as long as you're on paved roads, 95% of the time the roads will be perfectly clear, but if you do drive in the snow, go slow, leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you, don't rapidly accelerate or decelerate, and don't change speeds when you're turning. You might feel a little slipping/skidding when you turn or brake, like the car is wiggling. If this happens, don't slam on the brakes; gradually slow until you feel in control.


Beardly_Smith t1_j7o111j wrote

If you dont know how to drive in the snow...dont drive in the snow. Wait for the roads to be clear or have your friend pick you up


RamaSchneider t1_j7oqs5e wrote

A) Take that comment from u/TheShandyMan to heart - view your GPS with great suspicion.

B) Don't drive in the snow. Stay on the cleared roads.

C) If you can't stay on fully cleared roads, then find someone else to drive: your life and that of others could easily be on the line.

D) Don't feel bad about your inexperience. I've found that most Vermonters over the summer totally forget how to drive in winter conditions.


readyreadyvt t1_j7p2s5l wrote

Be aware most rental places don’t do snow tires.

There are public transit options. They’re not great, but they exist; Google Maps or similar will give you the routes.


neondeli t1_j7ob3ro wrote

Accelerate. Turn. Brake.

But never at the same time. Otherwise, just drive slow and stay out of people's way.


alfonseski t1_j7p8m5j wrote

If you have all wheel drive you still cannot stop haha


WhatTheCluck802 t1_j7o1b82 wrote

You do need snow tires. “All Season” tires are a lie.

Practice in an empty parking lot. Turning and braking, and you’ll get a sense of how your car handles in snow.

Take it easy. Don’t accelerate or decelerate too fast. Generally better for your car to slow down from taking your foot off the gas and coasting, versus slamming on your brakes.


Necessary_Cat_4801 t1_j7qtxrq wrote

You should not need to worry about it. Main roads are cleared relatively quickly. Unless you are driving while the snow is falling, and lots of it is falling, you'll be fine.


Decweb t1_j7p4ygr wrote

As others have said, main roads after clearing should be fine. It's mostly after snow or icy rain, for a day or three depending on what the weather is like, that you need to beware.

It all comes down to physics, slippery roads are going to teach you some hard lessons if you don't anticipate the physics.

Trying to pull out of a parking lot with a slushy entrance? You may push the pedal harder to try to get out before the light turns or oncoming traffic arrives, but the wheels, without proper traction, will spin and you'll go slowly, if at all. Good tires help, common sense is still important. Traction/friction is your friend.

Similarly if it's icy, you can press the brakes, but just because the tires stop rotating doesn't mean you'll slow down or stop moving forward. You have momentum proportional to the weight of your vehicle and the speed you're traveling. Give yourself a long path to slow down. (Or, as others said, best not to be out in the first place).

A heavy car with rear wheel drive on icy roads can also be a turning hazard, you can turn the wheels but the car just continues in the same direction. Not much of a problem in this day with front/awd/4 wheel drive and lighter vehicles.

Anyway, you get the idea. But avoid the icy days to drive, and if you must drive in bad conditions (only if you must), anticipate lack of traction and plan for it.


HardTacoKit t1_j7p9oxn wrote

Chances are there wont be any snow on the roads. It gets plowed off quickly.


0thell0perrell0 t1_j7rtb3p wrote

Just watch the unpaved roads, especially in mud season


Apprehensive-Block47 t1_j7shyt5 wrote

  1. don’t drive in the snow, especially at night, unless necessary.

  2. don’t drive in more than ~1/2” of snow unless you have experience.

  3. drive a 4WD or AWD vehicle, if possible.

  4. whatever the usual “cushion” you leave between you and the car in front of you is normally, triple it (If you have experience in the snow, double it).

  5. drive slower. If you feel slipping, you’re too fast.

  6. snow tires or new tires help.

  7. ignore the occasional aggressive drivers trying to make you go faster (They know how to drive in the snow, you don’t).


No-Ganache7168 t1_j7o1oib wrote

Rent a car with snow tires and watch your speed when roads are snow and ice covered and you’ll be fine.


Ahlq802 t1_j7oartn wrote

I think if you just remember that your car is more slippery in snow then you’ll be fine. That means you can’t stop suddenly or take turns fast. take it slow in snow, leave extra distance between you and the car in front of you. you’ll get the hang of it, no worries.


canthaveme t1_j7o0fu1 wrote

Please don't use the interstate if it's snowing and you're going to go 35. You'll cause an accident. Just take a different route


Fien16 t1_j7o173o wrote

Rather follow someone going 35 on the highway than try and pass and careen into them. Or maybe even worse have them careen into me trying to go too fast.


No-Ganache7168 t1_j7o2d84 wrote

Yes. There was a bad storm earlier this season where driving between barre and Waterbury at night no one was going more than 35 and lots of cars were stopped along the side of the interstate. It was covered with snow and visibility was very poor. Speed limit might be 65 but there are situations where going that fast is foolish.


Fien16 t1_j7o2jx4 wrote

I drove home during that ice storm from Johnson a few years ago and we certainly weren't going above 35. No amount of experience saves you when you lose traction.


canthaveme t1_j7o21yz wrote

When the conditions are decent enough that people who know how to drive are going faster and they come up on some crazy newbie swerving all over the road is dangerous. It's the interstate. Stay off if you're unable to control your vehicle