Friday, March 4, 2011
Since snow and ice rarely gets the chance to visit The Netherlands, it's perfectly natural for a thrifty nation like The Dutch not to spend much money on winter-tires for their cars. This can cause traffic to be stuck for miles whenever a little snow appears on the ground. That the traffic stops so easily is especially interesting since The Netherlands are almost perfectly flat and I know from firsthand experience that it is extremely hard to get stuck on flat ground. Back in mountainous Iceland we laugh at the snow. In the first winter, that we have our drivers licenses, we learn to drive up hills covered with snow and ice without getting stuck. The trick is to use little throttle and carry speed over snowdrifts and ice. Cleaning the tires with turpentine can also help a lot. Of course the standard family car in Iceland gets shod with studded winter-tires in celebration of the cold and when the weather gets warmer again, it gets the quieter, longer wearing and less fuel consuming summer tires on it's rims. The largest downside is that the otherwise really nice people at the Icelandic tires-shops absolutely refuse to put the old tires back under the car if the thread is less than 3mm. Therefore you almost never see cars in Iceland with visibly worn tires. The thrifty Dutch on the other hand seem to consider it an insult to replace tires on a cars if they still have visible treads.