Many winters ago (let’s not say exactly how many) I enthusiastically enrolled in my high school’s rigid driver’s education class. I grew up in New England, where pretty much all children know that spotting the first snowflake of the season symbolizes the wonderful wintry fun and games to come. So, I didn’t think twice about learning to drive a car on New Hampshire’s slippery back roads. In fact, I think I mastered skiing before I was able to successfully take off on a bike without training wheels. I very quickly learned that maneuvering a vehicle in snow, sleet, slush and ice is a skill all its own. You may find reading through the following tips helpful before booking a rental car this winter.
All-Weather, Snow Tires and Chains
Your destination and itinerary determine whether or not you will need to specifically request snow tires. There are some countries where it is compulsory to have your vehicle equipped with winter tires and others where all-weather treads are perfectly suitable. In some cases, there may be local charges for snow tires, and there are some suppliers that may include the fee in their rate. Don’t worry, ask your Auto Europe representative to give you the rental supplier’s requirements and winterization options when calling to inquire about a particular location. Make sure to let us know all the countries that you plan on visiting.
If you plan on driving into/through mountain ranges, be aware that some roads may mandate the use of snow tires. Once again, Auto Europe is your best resource in helping you to determine if any additional winter gear may be needed for your car hire.
German “snow chains mandatory” sign image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Which vehicle is right for you?
Manual transmissions are an excellent choice for handling snow and ice covered roads, because you can slow the car by down shifting a gear. The engine decelerates the vehicle instead of the brakes, which can help minimize slipping and sliding. If you are heading for the mountains, you may also want to consider a four-wheel drive rental.
Some suppliers may have the option of renting a ski rack for your car hire. Auto Europe is more than happy to aid you with reserving this equipment, when and where it is available.
A few more tips
Ask Auto Europe if your car rental provides you with an ice scraper. Packing a pair of warm driving gloves and sunglasses are advisable (the glare from the sun and snow can get intense). Check out AAA’s Winter Driving Tips for excellent advice on operating a vehicle in the snow, and if you’re a member, check out our unbeatable AAA car rental discounts.
Auto Europe guarantees the best rates in the industry, whether you would like to rent a car in Switzerland, New Zealand or Canada. We are open 24/7, so call us toll-free at 1-888-223-5555 (from the U.S.), and one of our knowledgeable agents will gladly assist you with making a reservation. Happy trails to you and drive safely!