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The Ski Season Is upon Us - So Beware of Driving Law Changes

LONDON, January 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

With the ski season getting in full swing, leading car hire comparator Comparecarhire.co.uk is warning those travelling to popular ski resorts to be aware of unfamiliar winter driving rules

With the festive period now just a distant memory, the widely anticipated snow and ski season has arrived throughout Europe. With snowfall at its highest many adventurous holidaymakers will travel across Europe to make the most of it, and what better way to explore these winter wonderland regions than using a hire car.

The hike in demand for vehicle hire in ski resorts during the peak season highlights the increase in its popularity as a ski holiday 'must have'. However, with the heavy snowfall and wintery conditions come changes to particular driving laws that those in ski resorts must adhere to. In most of Europe, away from the southern countries, many drivers use winter tyres between November and April, but rules differ dependent on the country you will be visiting.

Andy Hemmington of  comparecarhire.co.uk , says: "Skiing trips increase in popularity year on year resulting in a rise in holidaymakers driving abroad in very bad weather conditions. We want people to ensure they know the laws of the particular country they are visiting to avoid any costly fines or penalties but most importantly, to stay safe on the roads. Travellers should expect the unexpected in regions where you can experience extremely bad weather such as heavy snowfall. It may make for a good skiing holiday but it also makes for treacherous driving conditions."

Focusing on the most popular ski countries, here are a few points to remember to help get you on your way safely:

  • Austria - It is compulsory to carry snow chains in Austria. If they are not fitted in the necessary circumstances then police can stop you from continuing on your journey. On the other hand, remember to remove them as soon as the weather improves so you don't damage the road surface. Winter or all season tyres are also required by law between November 1st and April 15th with a minimum tread depth of 3mm when driving in bad weather
  • France - Snow chains are again compulsory to carry in mountainous regions, particularly the Alps. Winter tyres are recommended but not compulsory. Winter tyres can be recognised by the snowflake on the sidewall, or one of the following combination of letters: M+S, M/S, M&S
  • Switzerland - Snow chains must be carried everywhere during winter and there are many road signs indicating roadside bays where you should stop and fit snow chains. Winter tyres are again only recommended however; if you don't have them and your driving hinders other road users you can be fined
  • Italy - Similar to France, snow chains have to be carried in vehicles travelling in mountainous areas where bad weather is likely between 15th October and 14th April, and winter tyres are only a recommendation. However, what is important to remember in Italy is that local Provinces are free to introduce their own rules, and they can make them compulsory

If using your own vehicle to travel, since it is impossible to determine the exact severity of weather conditions in other countries when you leave the UK, you must ensure you are carrying necessary items such as snow chains in case of sudden weather changes.

When using hire cars in these areas remember there will be an increase in demand for snow chains and winter tyres so pre-book everything where possible to ensure availability. They will also often be payable locally as opposed to being included in the car hire price so take this into account when budgeting for car hire. Research how to fit snow chains and other equipment before you go or ask to be shown, and check the boot of the vehicle for such items before you drive off. Hire a suitable car such as large car or a 4x4 vehicle, snow chains should always be fitted to the driving wheels and to front wheels of 4x4's, additionally if snow chains are fitted you shouldn't drive at more than 30mph.

Comparecarhire.co.uk is one of the leading car hire comparison websites in the UK, comparing car hire prices for over 40 suppliers in 15,000 locations worldwide including Spain, Portugal and Greece.

To check the latest deals visit http://www.comparecarhire.co.uk.

About Comparecarhire.co.uk

Since being bought and operated by Broody Media Ltd in 2004, comparecarhire.co.uk has become one of the leading car hire comparison websites in the UK. Today we offer car hire from over 40 rental suppliers in over 15,000 locations worldwide! In 2011 we also launched our mobile product enabling our customers to now search and book on their mobiles with apps for Apple and Android also available.

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