Snowy Mountains Driving Hints And Tips

Top 7 Tips To Having An Awesome Time At The Snow (with a few bonuses)

Tip #1 – Chain Yourself!
This tip applies even to four wheel drives and especially if you don't have much experience driving in snow or icy conditions.  The last thing you want is to have an accident on icy roads because you didn't use the chains and to have backed up traffic behind you.  


And remember, it's best to put the chains on at night and roll the wheels onto them to avoid theft – this means you won't have the hassle of trying to put them on in the morning after a night full of snow!

Note: Tyre pressure should be 25 kpa higher when using chains. Tyre manufactures recommend that cars with radial tyres shouldn’t travel faster than 40 km/h when fitted with chains. Stop and check the tension of the chains after driving about 200 metres.

Tip #2 – How To Be A Secret Agent On The Ski Field
When you're out on the slopes, either arrange a time and place to meet up if you get separated (happens easily) or take along a couples of cheap and reliable walkie-talkies and agree on a channel to stick to – just stay off the ones the ski patrols are using!

Tip #3 – Talking Books!
Every year, lots of families take their holidays at the snow.  If you're driving from Sydney, it usually takes up to six hours – which is an eternity when you're got two kids in the back.  To keep them happy, yourself sane and to avoid distractions that can lead to accidents, take along some children's books on CD, cassette or ipod – whichever works for you.  Harry Potter works well, but it depends on what your children like.

Tip #4 – Don't Miss Important Signals...
It sounds obvious but many, many people lose their mobile phone chargers.  Considering that most of these people are driving into a harsh environment that they're unfamiliar with and one which can be dangerous if your car breaks down – it's important to have a charged phone at the ready.  Often “Driver Reviver” stations, hotels and anywhere frequented by tourists will have a lot of chargers in their “lost and found” that you can use.

Tip #5 – How NOT To Get Your Skis Stolen
If you're skiing with friends, family or with anybody else for that matter then inevitably you'll be stopping during the day for lunch or breaks.  At this point you'll need to take off your skis and leave them outside.  To avoid having them stolen you can lock them up but it's often a very effective deterrent to swap just one ski with your friend and to have each of you store your mismatched pair of skis in separate places.  Not many thieves are interested in stealing a mismatched pair of skis or trying to sell individual skis for that matter.  Just don't forget where you've left them!

Tip #6 – How To Avoid Becoming An Icicle!
When you're skiing and you're all suited up, your ski clothes are effectively trapping moisture inside your your clothes and this moisture sticks to your skin.  Also when you ski, you sweat.  Getting your clothes wet in a cold environment leads to you getting very cold and this can ruin your day.  To help avoid this, unzip your jacket and remove your gloves at the bottom of the slope when you're waiting in the line for the ski lift.  This lets the moisture out and let's you dry.  After you've dried off you can zip your jacket back up, put on your gloves and ski with pleasure.

Tip #7 – Dress RIGHT and avoid heart-break
That long-awaited ski trip can go from ecstasy to agony very quickly if you haven't chosen the socks, boots, warm clothes or gloves.  You don't want to overheat or cut off circulation to your feet, you also want don't want to be too cold or have clothes that don't fir properly.  The best way to guard against this is to get your equipment from someone who knows what they're talking about and spends a lot of time in the snow.  They also need to listen to and understand your needs.  Taking some extra time up front to get your equipment right will save you the hours, blood, sweat and tears that comes with rushing your decision and getting the wrong gear.

BONUS #1 – Tips For A SPECTACULAR Time At The Snow!!!

Staying In The Loop
On your way to the snow, it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest weather and traffic reports.  Here are some ways you can do that:

Visit www.rta.nsw.gov.au or call 132 701 for traffic delay information.

For weather information telephone: (02) 6450 5551

You can also check out:
www.snowymountains.com.au
www.ski.com.au

www.bom.gov.au

www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

The radio is a great way to check for reports on the way to the snow. Here's a useful list of channels that will give regular weather and traffic reports before their news services:

 Eagle FM
93.5 FM Goulburn

Radio 2GN
1368 AM Goulburn
SnowFM
97.7 FM Cooma
94.7 FM Jindabyne
92.9 FM Thredbo
101.9 FM Perisher
Radio 2XL
918 AM Cooma
96.3 FM Jindabyne
92.1 FM Thredbo
98.7 FM Perisher


Another great place for information are visitor's centres along the way and nearby to the snow:

 Cooma Visitor Centre
119 Sharp Street, Cooma.
Phone: 6450 1742
           1800 636 525
Email: info@visitcooma.com.au
www.snowymountains.com.au

Snowy Visitor Centre
Kosciuszko Road, Jindabyne.
Phone: 6450 5600
Email: srvc@npws.nsw.gov.au
www.snowymountains.com.au

Goulburn Visitor Centre
201 Sloane Street, Goulburn
Phone: 4823 4492
           1800 353 646
Email: info@igoulburn.com
www.igoulburn.com



The RTA recommends every driver in NSW “stops, revives and survives”.  This means stopping for a break every hour so that you can stay sharp and alert when you are driving.  This isn't the police being meddlesome – it's common sense.  To encourage this they've offered both the carrot and the stick.  That's why you can find “Driver Reviver” stops (roadside canteens) set up offering cups of tea and refreshments, it's also why the police set up speed traps and monitor the roads to help keep them safe.  


Driver Reviver sites operate during the snow season at Lake George Tuggeranong and Bredbo.

Planning A Night Out In Jindabyne?
There's more to the ski season and Jindabyne than the snow.  Once darkness comes and the skis and snowboards are put away to rest for the next day, a lot of people like to go out and sample the local night life.  If you're planning on being one of them or you happen to be coming home late from a pub meal then you'll want to know about the “Brain Bus”.

This service operates from 11pm to 5am on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights throughout July, August and September. It picks up passengers from pubs and clubs in Jindabyne, and drops them off passengers within the Jindabyne township, Sport & Recreation Centre and Station Resort. Your hotel will be able to tell you more.

If you chose to drive and you've had a few drinks then you'll want to check your BAC before you get behind the wheel.  That's why there's a service (SIPS)  that runs a snow season public health campaign aimed at educating people about the risks associated with combining intoxication, fatigue and complex activities such as driving and snow
sports.

Watch for free voluntary breath testing in pubs and clubs and opportunities to check your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) the morning after a big night out.

Free breath test machines can be found at the Brumby Bar, Lake Jindabyne Hotel, Station Resort and the Banjo Patterson Inn. (Just remember that your BAC can continue to rise up to an hour after your last drink).

Bonus #2 - Driving Tips

Most Australians don't have much experience driving in the snow, so it's important to make sure you know have the right info before you leave.

Before You leave Home
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.

Snow Chains: Go to your mechanic to discuss the right snow chains for your car.

At The Snow
Parking: It is important to park only in designated parking areas and follow the directions of parking attendants. It may mean a slightly longer walk but it’s better than finding your car damaged at the end of the day by snow clearing vehicles.

Don’t apply the handbrake: Moisture can freeze cables and brake linings. Instead, chock the wheels, but don’t use rocks as they may damage the snow clearing machines.

Leave the car 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.

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

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


When Driving Again After Parking At The Snow
Warm your engine: Warm the engine for a few minutes before driving off.

Clear ice from vehicle windows and mirrors: Clear all glass and mirrors of ice before attempting to drive away from snowfields. Use the vehicle’s heater and fan in conjunction with the air conditioner.

Give the engine time: When hopping back into your car after a day of skiing and snowboarding it's understandable to try to warm up quickly by turning the heat on full blast.  But it's best if you don't turn the temperature up straight away - let the engine heat up first and then turn the temperature up.

Tips for driving in the snow
Accelerate and decelerate slowly: Applying the accelerator slowly is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don't try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

Drive slowly: Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning - nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to manoeuvre by driving slowly.

Keep a safe distance: The following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds when driving in icy conditions. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

Know your brakes: Whether you have anti-lock brakes or not, the best way to stop is 'threshold breaking'.  This is  where you keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

Don't stop if you can avoid it: There's a big difference in trying to start moving from standing still at a red light stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.

Don't power up hills: Using too much accelerator on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get momentum going before you reach the hill and let that momentum carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.

Don't stop going up a hill: There's nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some momentum going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.


So, with that in mind, take care, be safe and have a ton of fun next time you visit the snow!

Sources:
RTA: /documents/tips-for-day-trippers.pdf
AAA: http://www.aaaexchange.com/main/Default.asp?CategoryID=3&SubCategoryID=55

 

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