Make Your Car Roadworthy For Winter Safety

Winter holidays are fun. Going into the mountains for skiing and fun in the snow is always a thing to look forward to. It is more enjoyable if you manage to arrive in one piece instead of ending up in a ditch. It might also be worth a lot of money as many countries hand out hefty fines if you haven't readied your car for snow and icy conditions on roads and mountain passes.


Traveling in The Alps or any mountainous region in winter can be a trial. It is a trial of your patience while others struggle with road conditions they aren't accustomed to. It is a test of your own driving skills, too. People living in areas where only little snow falls brings them to underestimate what mountains are able to throw at them. While Britain's traffic collapses under an inch of snow, mountain travel may make you face several feet of new snow in the course of a single day. Your equipment, therefore, has to be able to cope with that.
Winter tires are a must (or at a minimum tires that are guaranteed to be able to deal with snow and slush). With winter tires on you might confidently expect to deal with most weather conditions. They will serve you excellently on snow and slush, but they don’t do a lot for you on blank ice. If you have to drive in icy conditions, slow is better than sorry.

If you plan to travel mountain passes, keep easy to install snow chains in your boot. Keep them on top of your bags or you’ll end up unloading your boot to get at them in the middle of a snow storm. The chains are mounted onto the tires to give additional grip in heavy snow and additional bite on ice. Mount them on all tires back and front; while two will do the trick to propel the car, you really don’t want to go straight out over the next bend in the road. Once you reach cleared roads you should take them off again; the hard surface will make them damage your tires otherwise.

Generally when traveling in winter, keep enough blankets inside your car. You never know where you might get stuck and for how long. Spending an hour in your car when the motor is not running is less of a trial snuggled up than otherwise. A blanket will also double up as a garment in the cold should you have to leave your car for any reason. It also helps if you take some water and something to nibble with you in case you have to wait for the rescue crew.

While these tips may sound like common sense to most of us, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria felt constrained to pass laws. Appropriate winter gear for your car was thereby made mandatory and is backed up with heavy fines. Switzerland in turn is relying on common sense to tell you what to do and how to do it properly. Regular bulletins on radio and television will keep you updated on weather and road conditions. Don't miss them.

You should be aware, though, that the proper equipment of your car is your responsibility, law or no law. Insurances are able, allowed, and encouraged to reject part or all of your claims if you venture forth unprepared or inadequately equipped. Saving on tires could be an expensive mistake. Apart from that, sliding slowly over the edge of a mountain pass into a 300 ft drop isn't my idea of a happy holiday.

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