If you are a skiing enthusiast or love spending time in a mountain cabin in winter you know how important it is to prepare your car for the long drive. If it’s your first time driving to the snow, don’t wait until the last minute to double check your vehicle’s condition.

Here are some important reminders about driving in the snow.

  1. Make sure you check exactly what your car insurance currently covers, especially since you’ll be traveling to new territory. By understanding car insurance rates you can find a great deal and insurance options to meet your specific needs.
  2. Have your car inspected and tuned-up prior to the trip, and be sure to tell the mechanic you are visiting the snow. You will need to check your battery, brakes, windscreen wipers, engine, tyres and especially your electrical system. Also, it is very important to add the correct ratio of anti-freeze to your radiator – check this with your mechanic.
  3. An oil change is recommended before your ski trip. The less gunk in your oil, the more freely the oil will flow in the cold temperatures.
  4. Add anti-freeze to the windscreen washing fluid to prevent the windscreen from freezing whilst driving.
  5. Remember to take a blanket, torch, shovel, first aid kit and towel – just in case of an emergency breakdown.
  6. On the day of departure, give yourself sufficient time to arrive at your destination.  Sharing the journey with other drivers is enjoyable – however, if you are the only driver who has experience driving on black ice, make sure you’re behind the wheel as you near your destination. Black ice occurs when snow is melted by the sun, flows across the road, and then freezes overnight once the temperature drops. It looks like melted bitumen and can be dangerous because it is very slippery. The tyres cannot grip the surface, and the car may spin out of control.
  7. Whether you hire or buy snow chains, practice putting the chains on and taking them off – particularly if it’s your first time driving in the snow.
  8. Despite a 100 km speed limit in most countries, factor in potential traffic and bad weather delays within your schedule. Plan your accommodations ahead of time and arrange an alternate pick up for your accommodation keys in case your arrival is delayed by hours.
  9. Remember to turn on your fog or head lights when weather deteriorates. Ideally, don’t leave your departure location with a full tank of petrol. This will force you to stop for a petrol top-up and force a time-consuming break during your trip.

On the Arrive Alive website we have made available additional information on Driving in Winter / Driving on Snow and Ice

From an Insurance Side it is also important to be alert of warnings not to drive through deep water. The ombudsman has issues a warning that car insurance might not cover engine damage from driving through deep water!

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