Before you go..
Have your vehicle checked
Add anti-freeze to your engine radiator. You’ll need to match the amount of anti-freeze to the capacity of the coolant system. If this isn’t done and the coolant freezes, the engine block and radiator may crack, leaving you stranded with an expensive repair bill. Most modern cars use coolant with wide temperature capabilities, but you’ll need to check with your service provider if special coolant is needed.
You should also add anti-freeze to your windscreen washing fluid to prevent it freezing on the windscreen when driving.
Driving with chains on
When driving with snow chains, it is recommended do not drive over 40 kph or you could damage your tyres and the chains if chains break due to excessive speed they can possibly also damage your car.
In snowy or icy conditions it is important to drive smoothly and gently.
Avoid sudden moves with brakes, accelerator or steering wheel.
Choose a gear that allows you control your speed by taking your foot off the accelerator rather than needing the brakes.
Leave a bigger gap than normal between cars so you don’t have to brake hard.
Avoid stopping if feasible when you are going uphill.
On mountain roads always stick to a speed where you feel safe and in control.
If you have faster traffic behind you, pull over when it is safe and let them past.
Keeping the car free of snow, ice and fogging-up
Running the air conditioner and heater together is the best way to stop the car fogging up.
When parking in the snow, leave a manual vehicle in gear, or an automatic in Park. Leave the handbrake off. If on a steep slope, consider chocking the wheels.
If heavy snow is expected during your stay, take the time to put chains on before it snows. This is much easier than trying to get a car without chains out of deep snow.
If the car is deeply covered in snow, it is best to dig it out before you bring all your luggage from the lodge. If there has been a very heavy snowfall over a few days, it can take quite a while.
Remember that it is illegal and dangerous to drive with built up snow on the car.
If the car is covered in a small amount of snow, clear enough to get in the driver’s door, turn on the ignition, heater, air conditioner and demister. Wipe and scrape snow off the roof, bonnet and boot then away from doors and windows. By the time you get in, the car should have warmed enough that it does not fog up.
Do not use windscreen washers to clear snow or ice; it will make it much worse. You can buy a scraper, or use a credit card to scrape the windscreen if nothing else is handy.
Preparing for your snow trip
Check that your radiator has antifreeze.
If you have a diesel, fill up close to the snowfields to make sure you get Alpine Diesel.
Check your tyres for good tread and correct pressure.
Check that your brakes and windscreen wipers are in good condition.
If your heater, air conditioner and demister are in good condition you will have a more enjoyable trip.
Carry a torch, groundsheet and thin but warm gloves. These can all be useful when fitting chains, or dealing with flat tyres etc.