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It’s never recommended to drive in snow on summer tires on any car, but one auto journalist found that out the hard way in his 2001 Chevy Corvette Z06. Jonathan Ramsey, an associate editor for Autoblog, took his beloved sports car on a road trip from his home near Cincinnati to visit his friend in Florida. But on the way back, he ran into trouble. A lot of trouble.

He could have taken the Buick or the Land Cruiser, but he took the Corvette instead

Jonathan Ramsey's Corvette stuck on the side of the snowy highway.
Jonathon Ramsey’s Corvette was stuck on the side of the snowy highway. | Jonathon Ramsey, Autoblog

According to his story posted on Autoblog, Ramsey’s trip started just before New Year’s this year. He checked out the 10-day report before heading out and reported that the “forecasters didn’t predict anything even approaching the unsavory for at least a few days after I would be back.” So rather than taking the Buick or Land Cruiser in his fleet, he instead opted to have some fun with his Corvette Z06. He was headed to Florida, after all.

On his way back home, Ramsey’s Corvette suffered from a flat tire, which held him up for a couple of days to get it replaced. After doing so, he headed north past Atlanta and stay overnight to ward off his driver’s fatigue. Unfortunately, that was a bad decision.

The traffic slowed as the snow began to pour

Jonathon Ramsey's Corvette driving on the snowy highway
Jonathon Ramsey’s Corvette driving on the snowy highway | Jonathan Ramsey, Autoblog

When Ramsey continued his trip the next day, he slowly made his way through Tennessee and up to Kentucky. From there, snow slowly began to fall from the sky, and patches of ice appeared on the ground. As traffic slowed, Ramsey slowly trudged his Corvette up on the Northbound 75 past Mt. Vernon. But soon enough, it came to a halt.

If you have ever driven in snow, then you know that momentum is your best friend. When you have to stop and start again, your car is relying on whatever traction it can from the tires meeting the road. In Ramsey’s case, that fresh set of Michelin Pilot 4S tires wasn’t doing him any good. So, he sat and waited with all of the other big rigs and traffic on the road.

Ramsey was saved from a snowy grave


You Don’t Always Need AWD or 4WD for Driving in the Snow

While waiting in traffic, Ramsey started talking to a trucker named Mike that was stuck alongside him. The trucker informed him that the wait was due to a pileup ahead and that it could take a couple more hours. Fortunately, Mike gave him some water and granola bars for the long wait.

As hours went by, the snowplows went through and cleared some of the road, which allowed Ramsey to continue on for a little bit. However, he ended up getting stuck again when another standstill in traffic on an incline came up again. This time, while stuck on the side of the road, Ramsey decided to crawl over to the passenger seat and get some sleep. He was only 15 miles from the nearest town; Berea, Kentucky.

Ramsey’s ultimate plan was to camp out in that spot for another couple of days until the ice melted – a plan that included a four-mile walk for gas and provisions. However, he was woken up to blinding lights from a wrecker that was pulling a big rig out of the snow.

The wrecker driver let him warm up in his truck while he worked. He then told Ramsey that his brother – who had a flat-bed tow truck – could get him and his car to the nearest hotel. Ramsey happily obliged in the offer and was able to get a tow to Berea. Although, he ended up sleeping in his car that night and at an Econolodge the next. Two days later, he finally made it home.

What can we learn from Ramsey’s road trip in his Corvette?

After hearing Ramsey’s story, the main takeaway is that Mother Nature doesn’t care if you’re taking a fun road trip in a Corvette Z06 with summer tires, when she wants it to snow, it will snow. That being said, another lesson to glean from the experience, as Ramsey himself points out, is that you should always keep a small emergency kit with the following in your car:

  • A blanket or sleeping bag
  • A pillow
  • Water
  • Gloves
  • Warm socks
  • Rations (granola bars, tuna, etc.)
  • Power supply for mobile devices

Above all else, don’t drive a sports car like a Corvette with summer tires on it in the wintertime. I can attest to that considering I tried it in my Honda S2000 as well. In that case: Do as we auto journalists say, not as we do.