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Ski holiday driving tips

Ski holiday car rental.

Before you go

A parked car by the side of the road.

Check your documents

Ensure you have a valid driving licence and any other necessary documents. If you're in any doubt, contact us to check you've all you need.

Make sure you have an appropriate vehicle

Skiing holidays are notorious for increasing the volume of your luggage. Think carefully about the number of people and suitcases that will need to fit in your vehicle - and don't forget to factor in all the ski equipment as well.

Consider the conditions

Car rental companies often require you to contact them in advance if you wish to have ski racks and snow tyres for your car. It is always worth checking with us before you go about any extras you may need.

Try to plan your routes

Driving in snow and ice is unusually draining. Having knowledge of your route prior to travel is especially important when conditions are so demanding.

Driving tips

Ski holiday driving needn't be stressful. But it's important to be prepared for the cold conditions. The following tips will help you to stay safe - so you can concentrate on having fun.

On the road

Two skiers carrying their skis as a car passes in the background.

Be prepared

Clear any snow off the roof, bonnet, boot and around the wheels of your car. Clean the windows and mirrors with a scraper. Turn on the engine, heater and/or defroster before you set off.

Watch your speed

Slow down when conditions deteriorate. Drive with caution, particularly in fog, snow or icy conditions.

Light up

Whenever the weather gets bad, turn on your vehicle's fog lamps or headlights so other drivers can easily see you.

Don’t risk it

Never overtake on a hill, at a bend or at an intersection.

Give yourself space

Braking distances on snow and ice are increased, so take extra care to stay a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

A car driving along a road at the bottom of a piste.

Stay slow and steady

Braking should be gentle and early. And make sure you accelerate slowly using the highest gear you can without stalling.

Watch the signs

Traffic signs can help you stay safe - keep an eye out for speed limit and advisory signs. Take special notice of wildlife warning signs, as many road accidents in alpine areas involve native animals crossing roads.

Stay alert

Don't drive if you can't see the edge of the road or the next snow pole. These are painted orange and are tall enough for drivers to get their bearings in heavy snow.

At your resort

Park the car

Park only in designated parking areas and follow the directions of any attendants. Parking in the specified zones protects your car from damage by snow clearing vehicles - and allows them to make the roads safer for you.

Keep the handbrake off

Moisture can freeze cables and brake linings. Instead, chock the wheels - but don't use rocks as they may damage snow clearing machines.

Stay in gear

Leave the car in gear with the front wheels turned away from the slope. Remove wheel chocks from the parking area when leaving.

Use your chains

Even if chains were not required to enter the area, it may be advisable to fit them when parking. It's much easier to do this early in the day than later when weather conditions may have changed.

Protect your windscreen wipers

If you're parking for an extended period, lift the wipers off your windscreen or place them in a plastic bag so they can't stick to the glass.