5 tips to help you get a grip in snowy driving conditions

Posted on 20 June 2013

Many Brits and other Europeans travel to their second home in the French Alps by car, which while gives flexibility and is convenient for taking your own skisalso means having to tackle precarious, snowy conditions, which most of us aren’t used to.
If you’ll be driving to a ski resort next season, take note of’s five tips to stay safe on snowy roads.

1)    Start by having your car fully serviced before departing. Check your battery and fan belt, top up your antifreeze, and make sure your windscreen solution is strong enough to cope with the freezing conditions in the Alps.

2)    Check your tyres are pumped to the right pressure and ensure you have winter tyres fitted if necessary – they should always be fitted in sets of four. If using summer tyres with snow chains, practise fitting the chains before you go, especially as conditions are likely to be cold when you need to fit them.

3)    It’s law in France for all vehicles to carry at all times a reflective safety jacket, warning triangle and working breathalyser. Other useful items to stash in the back include a shovel, tow rope, windscreen scraper, heavy duty gloves for fitting snow chains, spare bulbs for your headlights, de-icer and matches to help thaw car locks. 

4)    Remember, in icy and snowy conditions you: need longer braking distances; should leave a wider space between you and the car in front; use the highest gear possible in a manual car, especially when moving off from stationary; should avoid using high revs when moving from stationary or uphill; leave the car in gear when parked.

5)    Budget for motorway tolls – a typical return journey to the Alps being £100-£140 depending on your destination. Paying by card at tolls is quicker than fumbling with change.