Snow and ice of any significance is not common on Australian roads or highways. Perhaps thats why many of us can struggle when encountering such conditions. If you are heading to the ski fields or anywhere in the highlands during or after a cold outbreak, there are certain things you should do if you want to keep your car and yourself, free of damage. Below are some points gleaned from experienced cold climate drivers.
And remember, as far as I know, you are not covered by car insurance if you are driving on roads that are closed by snow and ice. Local police wont be smiling if they have to recover your car from a place where roads are closed.
1. Make sure you have good quality tyres with lots of tread. Forget the trip altogether if your tyres resemble F1 slicks. Chains are mandatory for 2WDs in the ski fields - practice fitting them.
2. Imagine that you are driving on marbles, this gives you a fair idea of how your car will respond under heavy breaking and jerky steering etc. It will slide and continue to slide, quite possibly until you hit something.
3. If you lose traction up a hill, slow down until your tyres grip. Going downhill isn't a good idea if you could hardly get up the hill in the first place, especially in a 2WD without chains. If you have to go downhill, go very slowly.
4. Do not brake hard into corners. Slow down well before them.
5. Do not accelerate quickly out of corners. Think 'smooth and slow'.
6. Beware of shady corners and bends - ice can remain here much longer than on sunny stretches.
7. Drive slowly. You will make mistakes on icy/snowy roads and mistakes are much easier to deal with if your car is crawling along rather than speeding along.
8. Expect the unexpected. Its quite likely you'll come across slowed or stopped traffic (especially in the Blue Mountains during snowy outbreaks) or an accident or a tree down etc.
9. Never think you've mastered driving in snow and ice. If you do, nature could well come back to bite you.
To summarise: Think marbles. Think slow. Think smooth. Think ahead.