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Driving in austria in the snow

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I was wondering is there anytime that i have to compulsary put chains on my vehicle in the austrian tyrol.
For this year i have a dacia duster 4x4 with pirelli snow and ice tyres fitted,
Was in austria last year with a dacia duster 4x2 on the same tyres i'll be using this year but my host said that on a particular i needed to chain up,
As my 4x2 duster cooped with all the weather could throw at it didnt feel the need to chain up am i right in my thinking?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Welcome to Snow Heads Vince
When you need chains you need chains and its best to have them in the boot where you can find them.

Rent them or buy a set and practice putting them on while you are on the drive at home.
Have an old carpet or towel you can kneel on and some rubber gloves. + Head torch
Perhaps some overalls

You don't want to find out how to put them on at the side of a slushy road in the dark when you're tired and worn out from driving all day.

Trust me I've been there a few times ... even with Nokia Snow Tyres on all four corners.

You can rent chains on the the route down (or you used to be able to). But I think its a good idea if you can get them before you go so that you can practice.

Snow Socks might do, but I've never tried them.

Of course, you'll probably be lucky and not need the at all.
But even if it is only a 1% probability it will be worth being prepared.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

my host said that on a particular i needed to chain up

Sometimes, whilst all the general roads are kept clear, and fine, the last bit of the local journey up to a particular place could cause problems. Personally, I'd be loath to dismiss local advice - though obviously a 4WD vehicle will make a difference.
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DrLawn wrote:
Nokia Snow Tyres.


Should give a good connection to the road surface Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
DrLawn wrote:
Welcome to Snow Heads Vince
When you need chains you need chains and its best to have them in the boot where you can find them.


Thanks for the welcome,
I'm old hand at snow chain fitting my chains are about 20 year old and only used in anger about 5 times in that time and the only 2 wheel drives,
Been lucky all the care I've had have fallen in the range of my tyres,
Its just last year i went to my friends in austria in a 2 wheel drive duster and on a particular main road apparently as its so steep if snow covered he said if the sign was out i should have chained up, luckily the duster climbed it just,
This was with pirelli scorpions,
Apart from 3 years ago always usedscorpion with no trouble,
But 3 years ago driving a nissan juke i used yokohama blue earth snow tyres compared to the pirelli they were rubbish, had to chain up driving up too his house didnt have to with the 2 wheeldrive duster,
So went back to pirelli's lesson learned buy once by right cheap doesnt always work.
I'ts all in the tyre
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[/quote]
Personally, I'd be loath to dismiss local advice - though obviously a 4WD vehicle will make a difference.[/quote]

My thought's excatly I just wondered if anyone had come across this before
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
You should carry snow chains in your car, but it is very unlikely you will need to use them. Roads are generally kept very clear, but if there is a big dump of snow or snow arrives unexpectedly, the authorities will prioritise the main roads so you may need chains to pass minor roads, or e.g. to get out of a driveway. Our chains have only been used once in 5 years, and that was to get out of the village to get to the supermarket before the snow clearers had got to us.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I live in Austria, have a 4x4 Duster, and in the 8 years I’ve owned it have never once needed chains, despite 2years driving over the Arlberg Pass every weekend in ALL weathers (and a couple of uncleared forest roads on ice so slippy pedestrians couldn’t stand upright).

But sometimes there will be signs out saying chains mandatory for all vehicles APART from 4x4 going UPHILL.

4x4 Duster with winter tyres is a beast in the snow - enjoy it!
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@Vince.newman, There's no law that says you MUST fit chains, in fact quite the opposite. "However, snow chains should only be fitted if the road is covered in a more or less continuous layer of snow or ice." If you can't get up the hill, then either don't drive or put the chains on. I drive a Volvo XC60 4x4 and have never had to use them in Austria. Don't scrimp on the winter tyres and you should be fine.
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I havent done as much driving in the winter mountains as @clarky999, but in the 20 odd years I have been driving regularly to the Austrian mountains in winter I have never used or needed chains. I drove from St Anton to Davos during the "snowmeggedon" episode a few years back in a 4 wheel drive Skoda estate. No issues at all beyond traffic jams caused by people stopping to put on chains! The Swiss army was out keeping the roads open, no problem overtaking their vehicles.
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I think a lot depends on how you drive. People who drive regularly in the snow get good at avoiding wheel spin and correcting the occasional slide. But some just respond to any problem by piling on the gas.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@pam w, given the number of arguments on this particular subject I have come to the conclusion that there is a difference in the approach between the "French" alps and the "Austrian" alps. Years ago when I used to drive out to the French alps we always carried a set of chains with us (not that we ever used them) and we had never heard of winter tyres. When I moved to Munich I discovered that (almost) everyone had two sets of tyres one for summer & one for winter and snow chains were pretty much unused and not needed (only farmers on mountain tracks or similar). Given most brits who drive go to the French alps where chains rather than winter tyres (until recently) are the norm this creates a perfect opportunity for endless arguments Very Happy
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I have driven to the Alps since 2012 and have only had to use chains once ...that was in Madonna and the road out of town is pretty steep ...especialy when it lays down 5 foot of snow in 3 days...I would not have got anywhere without them...and I had snow tyres
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I get the impression that there's often a lot more driving up (and more hazardous) down bendy and steep roads involved in getting to French ski resorts than Austrian ones. Perhaps because most French visitors don't have winter tyres the use of chains on heavy snow days is pretty common and nobody thinks it's a big deal.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
To hear some people fret and worry you'd think using chains on the family car was akin to having to abandon your yacht and get into a life raft.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
pam w wrote:
I get the impression that there's often a lot more driving up (and more hazardous) down bendy and steep roads involved in getting to French ski resorts than Austrian ones. Perhaps because most French visitors don't have winter tyres the use of chains on heavy snow days is pretty common and nobody thinks it's a big deal.

Probably true, but possibly because Austrian resort access is often at the bottom of the valley, below the snow line, or along a long straight road or motorway. We maybe don't drive up snowy, winding roads as much.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
One of the main qualities of winter or snow tyres is their age (production date). Older tyres lose a lot of grip as the rubber deteriorates, and that happens faster due to the softer rubber compound. Even the best quality winter tyres are rubbish if they are too old. Printed on the side of the tyre wall is the production week and the year, as a four digit number.
Recommended from the ÖAMTC (Austrian AA), is less than 4 years old.
I've driven all types of vehicles, on all sections of mountain roads here in Tirol, in all types of snow conditions. My overall experience is that a four wheel drive with good winter tyres will get up anywhere. A two wheel drive with good winter tyres will get up most places, as long as you have momentum. If you have to stop on a hill because someone is stopped in the way, or in deep snow on a slight incline, then it's game over. Chains become a necessity to get moving again.
Chains become really important when driving downhill in bad slippery snow conditions. Whether you have two or four wheel drive, and all the ESP, ASR, ABS, etc, available doesn't matter. If you are driving down a steep hill in a moderately heavy vehicle, in snow or icy conditions, at some point the vehicle may start to slide. Especially if you don't have much snow experience and brake too hard/suddenly. With chains the vehicle is easy to control, steering and braking work well. Without chains you might feel like you're on a toboggan ride. It might seem like fun to the driver but not necessarily for the passengers. And in the case of an accident (serious or minor), your insurance might not cover you if you weren't using snow chains in snowy conditions. Or if you aren't using winter tyres in winter conditions, (cold, or damp, or wet, or snowy), in a region where winter tyres are legally required.
Play it safe and always have a set of snow chains in the car (that actually fit your tyres and vehicle type).
Over the years I've tried to help many stuck drivers to help fit their chains, only to find they are carrying the wrong size (maybe from their old car, or the rental agency), or even cars that can't use chains because they have larger wheels as standard. Did you know that a lot of modern Range Rovers and Land Rovers can't use chains without buying smaller wheels and tyres first? And that goes for lots of modern cars. Check your manual before buying.
With the right equipment and experience, driving in the snow becomes easy and even fun. Not the horror experience it can easily turn in to when using the wrong or bad equipment. wink
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Vince.newman wrote:
I was wondering is there anytime that i have to compulsary put chains on my vehicle in the austrian tyrol.


Yes. Period.
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I have to chain up 20 or 30 times a year, sometimes all 4 wheels, in a proper 4wd with snow tyres. Not too many snow ploughs in my neighbourhood.

The best tip I can give to make it easier is to teach the kids how to do it Eh oh!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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[quote="whitedescents"
Over the years I've tried to help many stuck drivers to help fit their chains, only to find they are carrying the wrong size (maybe from their old car, or the rental agency), or even cars that can't use chains because they have larger wheels as standard. Did you know that a lot of modern Range Rovers and Land Rovers can't use chains without buying smaller wheels and tyres first? And that goes for lots of modern cars. Check your manual before buying.
With the right equipment and experience, driving in the snow becomes easy and even fun. Not the horror experience it can easily turn in to when using the wrong or bad equipment. wink[/quote]

Totaly agree ..My Insignia can't use normal chains due to the lack of space behind the wheels (18s) but you can use front fitting chains like Spikes Spider which I have ,,the https://www.roofbox.co.uk/snow-chains/ have guide which tell you what you can use...and they are very helpful Smile Smile Smile
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Langerzug wrote:
Vince.newman wrote:
I was wondering is there anytime that i have to compulsary put chains on my vehicle in the austrian tyrol.


Yes. Period.


No. Period! Tyres yes but chains no.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@RedandWhiteFlachau, in Flachau maybe.(...) (Do you know the meaning of the word flach?)
But chains can definitely be mandatory on roads during heavy snow/ice anywhere else in Austria. Also for 4x4

The word is 'pflicht'.....

"Schneekettenpflicht auf bestimmten Straßenabschnitten
Obwohl in Österreich keine generelle Schneekettenpflicht besteht, kann die Verwendung auf gewissen Straßenabschnitten verpflichtend vorgeschrieben sein. Diese sind unmissverständlich gekennzeichnet: Eine blaue, runde Gebotstafel mit entsprechendem Symbol zeigt an, dass die betreffende Straße nur mit angelegten Schneeketten befahren werden darf."
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Langerzug, https://www.bmk.gv.at/en/topics/transport/roads/safety/tyres.html

If you find yourself on a "Mandatory" road as per the Austrian designation then you are almost certainly in the wrong place.
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Just a quote from an old ski buddy of mine:

"With a 4 wheel drive ... you can get really stuck!"
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@RedandWhiteFlachau,

just a random websearch:

"Kettenpflicht für alle Fahrzeuge

B 185 Martinsbrucker Straße zwischen Grenzübergang Martinsbruck und Nauders in beiden Richtungen Schneekettenpflicht
L 18 Kaunertal Landesstraße zwischen Nufels und Kaunertal in beiden Richtungen Schneeglätte, Schneekettenpflicht
L 19 Serfauser Landesstraße zwischen Ried im Oberinntal und Serfaus in beiden Richtungen Schneekettenpflicht
L 313 Fendler Landesstraße zwischen Kreuzung nach Prutz und Fendels in beiden Richtungen Schneeglätte, Schneekettenpflicht

Stand 29. Jänner 2021, 12.00 Uhr (Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr!)"

https://www.meinbezirk.at/landeck/c-lokales/arlbergpass-wegen-lawinengefahr-gesperrt_a4458087
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@Langerzug,

Yes, all temporary restrictions caused by heavy snowfall. Compulsory only if you chose to drive that route on that day.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@RedandWhiteFlachau, sorry but that is BS.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Are snowsocks legal in Austria?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

Compulsory only if you chose to drive that route on that day.

In the same way that winter tyres are only compulsory if you chose to drive in snowy countries/places in winter. wink
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
i visit Austria since 2007...many times per year. Always with winter tyres
I think only once i used snow chains when there was a snow storm at katschberg pass...
this i almost 1/100....but always have them in car
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
RedandWhiteFlachau wrote:
Langerzug wrote:
Vince.newman wrote:
I was wondering is there anytime that i have to compulsary put chains on my vehicle in the austrian tyrol.


Yes. Period.


No. Period! Tyres yes but chains no.


Yes there are times. The Arlberg Pass has a digital sign near the start of it showing the current status for example. But 4x4 UPHILL is still pretty much always allowed without chains - I've never seen 4x4 + winter tyres also requiring chains to go UPHILL even on the Arlberg Pass (probably the snowiest road in the Alps*) before. If it got to that they'd be closing the road.

*of the passes that don't close all winter anyway
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
clarky999 wrote:
RedandWhiteFlachau wrote:
Langerzug wrote:
Vince.newman wrote:
I was wondering is there anytime that i have to compulsary put chains on my vehicle in the austrian tyrol.


Yes. Period.


No. Period! Tyres yes but chains no.


Yes there are times. The Arlberg Pass has a digital sign near the start of it showing the current status for example. But 4x4 UPHILL is still pretty much always allowed without chains - I've never seen 4x4 + winter tyres also requiring chains to go UPHILL even on the Arlberg Pass (probably the snowiest road in the Alps*) before. If it got to that they'd be closing the road.

*of the passes that don't close all winter anyway


Agreed, even on the rare occasion that the 'chain police' have been checking cars at entry the Klosterle entrance to the Arlberg Pass I've been allowed to pass with 4WD and winter tyres without fitting chains. I'm sure they used to be more police doing checks there in the past, I haven't seen them for years but maybe people who travel the road more frequently see them still. I don't ever remember seeing checks on the other side coming out of St Anton but then again it always seems to be a sunny day when I'm leaving.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
clarky999 wrote:
RedandWhiteFlachau wrote:
Langerzug wrote:
Vince.newman wrote:
I was wondering is there anytime that i have to compulsary put chains on my vehicle in the austrian tyrol.


Yes. Period.


No. Period! Tyres yes but chains no.


Yes there are times. The Arlberg Pass has a digital sign near the start of it showing the current status for example. But 4x4 UPHILL is still pretty much always allowed without chains - I've never seen 4x4 + winter tyres also requiring chains to go UPHILL even on the Arlberg Pass (probably the snowiest road in the Alps*) before. If it got to that they'd be closing the road.

*of the passes that don't close all winter anyway


I always find the uphill/downhill difference a bit weird. As if anyone driving the pass up is going to put chains on at the top...
*By the way, the Hochtannbergpass probably is even snowier Cool
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is it neccessary to have snow chains in a 4x4 car with winter tires? Law speaks nothing about 4x4, only requirements for tires and to have chains for at least driving axle. So technically, 4x4 must have chains for all 4 wheels? Laughing
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@kosmos
Quote:
is it neccessary to have snow chains in a 4x4 car with winter tires? Law speaks nothing about 4x4, only requirements for tires and to have chains for at least driving axle.

Yes - in terms of practical contingency, irrespective of the legal need. Even a 4x4 / AWD with winter tyres will still eventually meet conditions that require chains. The probability is lower than for a 2WD with winters on, but it's still there. One example is a slope which freeze/thaw has turned to ice.
Quote:
So technically, 4x4 must have chains for all 4 wheels?

No (for 99% of vehicles) - For almost all 4x4s and AWD vehicles, chains are only fitted to the drive-biased axle. For example, on a BMW xDrive it's the rear wheels that get the majority of the power, and you only ever fit chains to the rears. There are some other cars which have the front wheels as the main driven ones, so they get their chains on the front. Check your Owners Manual or ask your garage for the definitive recommendations for your vehicle.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Wed 14-12-22 12:13; edited 4 times in total
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I see this thread is still running. Currently sitting at 1650m in the Matrei. Quoting earlier discussion in German with hotel.

"Can I drive up today?"...
"Yes but you must have Snow Chains."
"Is it compulsory?"
"No but you must have them!"

We got here on snow covered road on Winter Tyres with no problems.
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