10 Golden Rules for Snowy Road Trips

So, I know that we’re right in the middle of summer, but while everyone is talking about basking on white sandy beaches and lapping up hot sunshine, I’ve decided to cool things down a little bit; so much so that I’m going to talk about snow.

“Snow?! Are you mad?” I hear you all say. Well, before you all dismiss the idea completely, just hear me out first. Why? Because if you’re thinking about embarking on a ski or snow trip during this year’s winter season, then the following tips just may hold you in good stead – after all, there’s nothing wrong with getting properly prepared way in advance, right?

So, 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. Budget Direct can provide you with some great comparisons, features and insurance options to meet your specific needs.
  2. If you are going to Perisher, pre-purchase a national park pass. A pass will save you time and money while on the road, particularly if you are planning more than one trip this season.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. Oil does not freeze in Australia, but if it’s dirty oil, it can become sluggish.
  5. Add anti-freeze to the windscreen washing fluid to prevent the windscreen from freezing whilst driving.
  6. Remember to take a blanket, torch, shovel, first aid kit and towel – just in case of an emergency breakdown.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Despite a 100 km speed limit, 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.
  10. 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.

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