Snows Best has all the driving tips you need this winter and a $100 coles express shell petrol voucher for one lucky reader.
Driving to and in the snow can suck or it can be a buzz. It all depends on how you prepare.
Whether you ski in Australia or New Zealand this southern winter you’re going to need to drive to get to the slopes unless you have a private plane and your pilot sets the GPS to Hotham’s airport and your chauffeur whips you up the mountain. But then you wouldn’t be reading this.
So first things first.
Stock up on munchies
Blood sugar levels must remain constant, a sudden dip while driving and you may find the Hulk at the wheel. Too much and the Hulk turns into Mark Weber. Fill the glove box with your favourite nuts to keep your protein levels and blood sugar even. Dark chocolate for sudden burst of energy and loads of water to keep you hydrated.
Join the dots
You may think you can set the land speed record for Sydney to Jindabyne but unless there are two of you and you swap passenger and driver seats every two hours then you’ll arrive exhausted from staring at the road. So plan your trip destination to destination.
I go from Sydney to Goulburn and stop at the cycler cafe called Greengrocer Cycling to stretch my legs and get something decent to eat. Then I join the driving dot to Cooma for some sustenance at The Lott then right through to Thredbo.
Chain it up
Snow chains are non optional in the Koscuisko National Park, if you don’t carry them in your car then expect a fine unless you have a four wheel or all wheel drive then you’re ok. You can hire chains from most petrol stations in Cooma so pick them up there.
When needed fit the chains to the front wheels or rear wheels depending on whether you are a front wheel or rear wheel drive (you can get instructions from the place you hire the chains from). You’re only required to fit them to two wheels. Now drive slowly.
Speaking of slow
Gears are your friend, brakes are your enemy. Drop gears to slow down and double your normal driving distance between you and the car in front. Don’t underestimate this, better to have more distance because icy roads can play havoc with braking.
If you find yourself sliding on the road do not hit the brakes, do remove your foot from the accelerator. If you brake you will lose control as you lose traction. ABS or anti lock brake systems will help but if you don’t have it then pump pump pump those brakes on and off on and off.
It’s the little things
Antifreeze is your friend, use it. Your battery is also your friend and you should double check you are still feeling the battery love before you start the journey. While you’re there check the brake pads too. Oh and the tyres, they need enough tread so if you’re losing it replace them. If not then increase the pressure if you intend to be driving with a heavy load of skis, snowboards, boots and gear.
I can see clearly now
If you can’t see then you can’t drive. Demisting the front windscreen takes good air-conditioning so make sure yours is gassed up.
When your car is sleeping
Whatever you do don’t use the hand or park brake when parking the car in the cold. It can freeze and then snap. Lift your windscreen wipers off the windscreen when parked overnight or they may freeze to the glass.
Hot or cold
Neither. Warm. Use warm water to de-ice windscreens. Too hot and it may crack.
You will need a snow shovel in your car should you get stuck in the snow. If you do get stuck then traction is what will help you get out so throw a bag of sand or gravel or even kitty litter in the trunk too.
WIN a $100 Coles Express Shell Petrol Voucher
To celebrate Australia’s iconic snow road trips and Shell V-Power LoVe Drives we are giving away a tank of petrol.
Use it like an ATM card with a pin number found on the back. An easy gift solution for those who like to drive.
What do you love about driving to the snow? What are your driving tips? What winter driving stories do you have? Post a comment on the blog below to enter to win. Open to Australian residents only. Judges decision is final. Winner announced Wednesday May 14 at 9.00am Sydney time on this blog post.