Tips for driving in the snow

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With the mountains glistening with fresh snow, now’s the time to dust off your thermals and wax your edges. However, before you hit the slopes, there’s the small matter of driving to them. Here’s how to smooth your way to winter play.

How do I prepare my car?

Visit your local car servicing centre and inform them that you will be driving to the snow. The mechanic should check your tyres, brakes, battery, engine and windscreen. The mechanic may drain and replace the coolant in your car’s engine with a stronger mix of anti-freeze, if required. For information on coolant (anti-freeze) and engine oil specifications, consult your owner’s manual.

How do I prevent the windscreen fogging up?

Good vision from the car is paramount, so renew windscreen wipers in advance to allow them to bed-in. Check the air conditioning system (AC) is working properly before leaving and use it to demist the windscreen. Cool air flow to the face helps keep you alert when travelling in a warm car. However, do not use the AC to extend your driving times beyond sensible rest periods. 

What’s the best way to slow down in the snow?

Use gears instead of brakes to slow down and watch for icy patches on shady parts of the road, through cuttings, on bridges and on winding stretches where ice may have formed over a thin layer of snow. Take care to drive smoothly, with no sudden stops and starts or sudden turns.

Does my car need to use snow chains when I go to the snow?

When driving in the Lesotho mountains and other snow affected areas, snow chains must be carried. With the exception of 4WD vehicles, authorities recommend snow chains to be fitted when conditions demand.

How do I get the snow chains on?

You only have to fit chains to two driving wheels: front wheel drive vehicles, fit to front wheels; rear wheel drive vehicles, fit to rear wheels; and four wheel drive vehicles if using chains, fit to front wheels. For all wheel drive vehicles refer to the owner’s manual. When fitting chains, pull off to the left of the road as far as possible and use a chain fitting bay. Do not use a jack to lift a vehicle to put on snow chains as in icy conditions, your car might slide off the jack. All snow chains can be fitted without the need to lift the vehicle. Make sure the inner and outer hooks are securely fastened. Tie the loose ends of the chains down to prevent damage to mudguards. After you have driven the first 50 to 100 metres, stop and check that your snow chains are still tight.

Do you recommend me towing other cars I find stuck on snowy/icy roads?

Under no circumstances should you attempt this, as apart from a high safety risk, you may find yourself ending up in the same situation. If the vehicle stuck is covered by Alliance Insurance, they can provide towing assistance. Simply call +266 22215600. If the vehicle in question is not covered, (and the vehicles owner is not a member) a towing service can still be organised. However, a commercial call out fee will be charged by the local towing company for the service.

What is there to do at the snow?

You shouldn’t need too much help with this one! As well as skiing, snowboarding, sightseeing, there are plenty of other activities. Also, remember if you are looking for a great place to stay without breaking the bank, check out Afriski Resort 

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