With a little preparation and common sense, your snow holiday this spring is set to become the best decision you’ve made all year. Don’t leave driving in snow conditions to chance though, read up on the important elements for getting it right on the roads up to the resort.
Tips for safe driving in the snow
1. 4WDs for Snow Driving
The best vehicles for driving in the snow are 4WDs or All WDs because they have more traction on the ground and best assist in stopping the vehicle sliding around in the ice. If a group of you are heading to the snow and one has a 4WD, car pool in with them, or go with whoever has the safest vehicle. It is crucial to have your vehicle up to date with its car service before you head off on your snow holiday too to avoid any unnecessary stops for adding oil. If your vehicle uses diesel you’ll need to fill up with alpine mix, which you can do at any of the local Jindabyne service stations.
2. Snow Chain Hire
If you don’t have a 4WD, you’ll need to hire snow chains for your car. You can hire snow chains at most service stations and ski hire locations in Jindabyne or Cooma or other towns around the region. It is a legal requirement that all vehicles other than 4WDs carry snow chains upon entering the Kosciuszko National Park during winter. They are needed when there is ice or snow on the road only and are fitted by pulling over in the designated chain bay areas on the way up to the mountain. Don’t panic and feel you must have them fitted on perfect road condition days though. Doing so will only slow down your journey unnecessarily.
At the time of renting your chains make sure you ask for a demonstration of putting them on and taking them off your car so you’re not testing them for the first time out in the elements next to the side of the road with other vehicles whizzing past. It’s also a good idea to check current road conditions with the Roads and Transport Authority before entering the National Park and for extra tips on fitting chains there are handy snow chain fitting guides online that will give you further instructions.
3. Use of Brakes and Speed
As always, drivers need to remember to ‘drive to the conditions’, which means slow down in snowy, misty or inclement weather. It’s a delicate balance, as driving must not be too slow that you are a hazard to vehicles behind and you don’t want to cause an accident from constant braking or sudden movements. Using your gears to slow down is a better idea in snowy conditions than using the brakes (constantly braking) and leave double the normal distance between yourself and the vehicle in front.
4. Apply Common Sense
Now would not be the time of the trip to have the radio up too loud, answer phone calls (not that you usually would, right?) or get into a long winded discussion with your fellow car occupants. It’s a time for maximum concentration. Leave a decent gap between you and the vehicle ahead in case they brake suddenly. Make sure you’re well-rested for the trip, not too tired, hungover or distracted (all common ways to start or finish a great snow holiday). Make sure the person driving is the most confident one for the job, and ensure that the person in the front passenger seat is the person operating the de-mister and radio (not the driver) and that they know how to work them.
Once up in the Perisher or Smiggins car park, attendants will direct you to the nearest available car spot. Leave plenty of space for vehicles to park next to you and leave windscreen wipers up on extreme snow days to avoid wipers being glued by ice to the windscreen.
6. A Shuttle Bus Is A Great Alternative
Of course, when you stay at Ski Rider, issues of driving in snow conditions are minimised as there is a free shuttle bus between Ski Rider and Perisher Resort. It takes you straight from the hotel right to the car park and runs up to eight times a day.
Spring skiing at Perisher
We hope our snow driving tips will come in handy this spring for you to take advantage of Ski Rider’s cool Perisher accommodation deals.