Exterior view of Cradle Mountain Hotel covered with snow

Staying Safe In A Winter Wonderland: Driving Through Snow In Tasmania

A self-drive holiday around Tasmania is rewarding at any time of year. With quieter roads and fewer visitors at tourist hot spots, the winter months are a great time to explore this special state. With a little forward planning and local knowledge, your driving experience will be pleasant and trouble-free. In most, you will be able to use alternate routes to avoid slippery roads. Here are some ways to make sure you stay safe if you do find yourself driving in the snow in Tasmania.

Hire Company

Hire your car from a reputable company to ensure that the vehicle is reliable and snow accessories are provided. If in doubt, check that the battery, wipers and tyres are in prime condition. Ask about the need for snow chains and how to fit them if you have never used them before (please note that chains are very rarely needed). Also ask if there are specific tips for driving the particular vehicle you have hired on snowy, icy or wet roads. Remember to allow time for morning frost on the vehicle to melt before you start your drive.

Safe Winter Driving

If you strike poor visibility or icy conditions, the key is to exercise care and common sense as you would in any hazardous situation. Remember the following basic road rules.

  • Use headlights
  • Reduce speed considerably
  • Stay well behind the car in front
  • Heed warning signs
  • Keep windscreen demisted
  • Stop if there is water across the roadway
  • Be alert for black ice

Plan Ahead

When planning your holiday, consult a road map and select a route which uses all weather roads. Cradle Mountain, for example, has a number of access roads. In winter, it is best to use access roads from the east as these are ploughed regularly and never close for long periods. It is usually best to avoid gravel roads in July, August and September. Always ask the staff at your accommodation for advice about local conditions and consult the Bureau of Meteorology website before heading to your next destination. Tasmania Police Community Alerts provide information about potential hazards and road closures across the state. Remember that it gets dark quite early if you prefer to drive only during daylight hours. 

Another important factor to consider is purchasing travel insurance to cover costs associated with the possibility of your itinerary changing due to weather condition. For example if you were to have to stay an additional night at your hotel due to the weather or if you miss a flight due to travelling delays.

Happy Holidays

If you are lucky enough to have snowfall during your Tasmanian holiday, it will provide you with wonderful vistas and give you a good reason to snuggle next to a roaring fireplace. With these simple driving rules, you will have a splendid winter holiday.