To help make sure your trip to Perisher is as safe as possible, here’s some great vehicle and road safety tips on driving in the snow from Subaru Ambassador and Australian Rally Champion, Molly Taylor.
- LEAVING HOME
Before leaving home, there are some steps you will need to take to check your car is in top condition for your road trip to the mountains. Inspect your vehicle’s tyres and tyre pressure, battery, brakes, engine and windscreen to make sure everything is working and ready for the journey. It could be worth booking your car in for its scheduled service interval if necessary.
Research your journey and the time it will take to reach your destination, with rest stops along the way. Make sure you get plenty of rest before heading off, and have a playlist with some epic tunes ready to get you through the trip!
- PLAN THE JOURNEY
Plan the Journey
It’s important to take regular stops and breaks throughout your trip and if possible, share the driving and take rest stops for every two hours of driving. Some of the early warning signs of fatigue include yawning, poor concentration, sore or tired eyes, restlessness and drowsiness. Find out more about the dangers of driving while tired at the NSW Department of Transport Centre for Road Safety.
Ensure that you pack warm clothes and check the climate control is set to keep you warm, as the weather can change as you move closer to the mountains.
As you move into rural areas, make sure you stay alert. Be aware of wildlife near the road and other hazards, and leave a safe stopping distance between other cars.
- ARRIVING INTO TOWN
Arriving into Town
As you approach the mountains, the weather and road conditions can change quickly. If you are driving in icy or wet conditions, remember to brake and accelerate gently, reduce speed, avoid using cruise control or making any sudden changes in direction, and leave a large gap between your car and the car in front.
It is a legal requirement that all 2WD cars carry chains into the Kosciuszko National Park. Subaru vehicles with SAWD or other 4WD vehicles do not need to carry snow chains, however it is important to still drive carefully and to the conditions. Roads in alpine areas are lined with tall orange snow-poles; stop driving and pull over to a safe area if you cannot see the edge of the road or the next snow pole. Use your hazard lights and wait for a break in the weather before continuing.
Re-fuel where needed for those long drives into the mountains. Diesel cars should top up with alpine diesel, a special blend with a lower freezing point than regular diesel, which is available in all sub-alpine towns.
- SNOW DAY FUN
Snow Day Fun
It’s important to always make sure all glass and mirrors are clear of ice before you start driving. This can be done using a plastic ice scraper or something similar like a stiff kitchen spatula or a CD case. Another tip is to use lukewarm water to clear away ice, but don’t use hot water or your windscreen washers – they’ll just make it worse or potentially crack your windscreen.
Turn on the car engine while clearing your windscreen; this will help to warm the car before driving into the mountains, and the vehicle’s air conditioner can be used to demist the inside of the windows. It is important that you don’t start driving until you can see through all the glass and mirrors of the vehicle.
When arriving to the slopes, follow the instructions of the staff on the roads and in the car park, including where you are being directed and where to park.