Mt Buller would like to remind you of the things you need to consider when driving in a snow environment. Take a look at these tips and drive safely on your snow holiday.
Before leaving home
Have your vehicle serviced and make sure you have anti-freeze coolant in the radiator; the battery, windscreen wipers, air conditioning and demisters are in good working order.
You should also check to make sure your head lights, brake lights, indicators and fog lights (if fitted) are all in good working order.
Your vehicle’s tyres (including spare) should have plenty of tread. With any tyre the greater the tread wear, the less safe the tyres are in winter alpine conditions. A worn tyre has a greatly reduced safety margin.
Make sure you have the correct snow chains for your vehicle for maximum grip and safety.
If you haven’t fitted snow chains to your vehicle previously, you should practice fitting them before you travel to the snow and also ensure you have the right size snow chains for your tyres.
Do you have the right fuel?
Diesel fuel contains paraffin which can solidify in temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. This can be prevented by filling your fuel tank with Alpine Diesel before you head up the mountain – available at most service stations in the alpine region.
Driving in the snow
Observe local speed limits in resorts.
Travel at a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
Apply gradual pressure to the accelerator to avoid wheel spin.
You should avoid braking when cornering as this can cause skidding and loss of control. Instead, try to brake before you enter the corner.
When braking is necessary, apply the brakes gently. Front and/or rear wheels can lock easily resulting in a loss of steering and control.
Fitting snow chains
Fit at fitting bays on level ground.
Only use chains that have been designed specifically for your vehicle.
Snow chains should be fitted to driving wheels only.
Arriving at the Resort
Only park in designated parking areas to avoid any hazards.
It’s also a good idea to fit your snow chains to your vehicle when leaving the vehicle overnight or for an extended period. That way you will already have your snow chains fitted when you are heading home.
Lift wipers from the windscreen if parking for an extended period so that the wipers do not freeze to the glass.
Don’t leave the handbrake in your vehicle engaged. Moisture in the mechanism can freeze and cause the handbrake to be “frozen” in the engaged position.
Leaving the Resort
Make sure you clear ALL snow from your vehicle – you can be hit with a hefty fine and loss of demerit points for driving with snow on the roof of your vehicle. It is a danger and a hazard for several reasons:
Firstly the danger caused to other motorists or pedestrians when the snow dislodges and more particularly what or who it hits when it does dislodge (particularly at speed).
Secondly it quite often falls forward under braking causing the snow to cover the windscreen blocking the driver’s forward vision.