Driving to the Alps – Self Drive Family Ski Holidays

Many Ski Famille families choose to drive to the Alps; we have some tips that may help you plan for your journey.

  1. Before you embark on a trip have your car fully serviced, check your battery and fan belt, top up your antifreeze, and make sure your windscreen solution is strong enough to cope with the weather in the Alps (generally speaking don’t dilute).
  2. French Road Safety law stipulates that all vehicles driving in France must carry at all times at least one reflective safety jacket and one warning triangle in their vehicle. You will also need a spare set of bulbs.
  3. Snow chains are a legal requirement if you are attempting mountain roads (even in a 4×4). Snow socks may get you out of a fix, but they are not a substitute for chains if driving for more than a short distance. Once you have chains practice fitting them … better to figure it out on your drive than in -10 on a mountain road.
  4. Don’t be intimidated by local drivers; some will sit a foot behind you on a mountain road and swoop past if the smallest gap appears. Just stick to a speed you are comfortable with. Accident statistics show that locals aren’t as good as they think they are … !
  5. Have warm clothing, food and water easily accessible in case you do encounter difficulties or simply get stuck in traffic.
  6. Once in resort lift your windscreen wipers away from the front and back windscreens so they are not frozen to your car if it snows heavily.
  7. If parking your car for over an hour or so leave in gear with the handbrake off – it can freeze solid surprisingly quickly!

A final tip for a long journey is to start working on your children’s musical taste well in advance. Imagine nine hours of “Wheels on the bus” … not a good start to any holiday!

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