Driving Abroad - Preparation

Driving Abroad - Preparation
Driving Abroad - Preparation

Driving Abroad - Preparation

August 2007

If you have your car regularly serviced a journey to the Alps should not in itself present any problems. There are, however, a few precautions to take before setting out and your local garage can advise. Tell them where you are going and they will check that your radiator has sufficient strength of anti freeze to ensure the car does not freeze. The temperatures in the mountains can be a lot, lot lower than back home and unless you have arranged garage parking your vehicle could experience low temperatures never found back in the UK.

Also remember that if you have to park outside overnight, park facing down the hill. It is easier to jump-start the vehicle down a hill than to push it uphill if your battery has gone flat! Have the fan belt checked to ensure that it is both tight enough and also that it is not worn.

Whilst thinking about anti freeze, also remember your screen wash. There is nothing worse than driving along on a wet road and trying to clean the windscreen only to find the washer bottle has iced up. Ensure you have a sufficient strength liquid (50% solution to water is a good idea) and carry a spare bottle with you for the journey. This can be diluted or added to the existing liquid as required.

You MUST carry a spare set of light bulbs with you and also a tow rope and red warning triangle. As earlier stated you must carry snow chains in the car - even if you do not need to use them - but also ask your garage to check the tread on your tyres. Worn tyres are not a good idea on ice or snow-covered roads!

Carry a road map of Europe and if you can obtain a map of the region you are heading to, this is also a good idea. Sometimes roads get closed for a variety of reasons - or there are traffic jams - and a diversion can often save time. But without a map, life could be difficult. You should also carry in the car a copy of your vehicle registration document.

It is a good idea to carry European breakdown insurance and this can be obtained from your ferry company as part of your special P&O Ferries skiers ticket. For further information on this please contact P&O. Personal ski insurance is also available and is strongly recommended. Hospital and doctors bills throughout Europe are expensive. Although you should carry the E111 form as an extension of your UK health insurance, this will only give you cover for basic treatment. Probably not for tablets and other items to be obtained from the local pharmacy.

Finally, carry some passport photos with you for your ski pass. It is much cheaper to have these taken in the UK than wait until you arrive in your resort and it will also save time.

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