Thrifty Car Rental has prepared a list of safety tips to encourage safe driving in Europe’s winter conditions. It is important to be prepared for the worst, especially when driving in snowy, slushy or icy conditions, says the company.

“Families and enthusiasts who are heading to the slopes this winter must be particularly careful when setting off on any journey,” said Tom Kelley, vice president of Dollar Thrifty International. “Driving in the snow can be a challenging and potentially dangerous activity, and drivers must be fully prepared for all scenarios. Therefore, we decided to share some helpful safe-driving advice to anyone who plans to get behind the wheel for business or pleasure over the next month.”

According to Thrifty, here are some safe-driving tips:

  • Listen to weather and traffic forecasts and check for road closures. If bad weather is predicted, listen for guidance from weather forecasters and traffic agencies. 
  • Before you start out, warm the car and ensure that all lights, windows and mirrors are clean and free of snow and ice. Don't use hot water on glass — the sudden change can crack the glass; an ice-scraper is inexpensive and effective. 
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads including accelerating, stopping and turning. 
  • Increase following distance. The normal, dry road following distance of 3 to 4 seconds should be increased to 8 to 10 seconds in snow and slushy conditions.
  • Watch out for black ice and remember it may not always be visible. Drive your car with extreme caution and try not to brake sharply. If you go into a skid, drive into it, and never brake on ice.
  • If your car gets stuck in snow, shift into a high gear, keep your wheels straight and gently go back and forth until you are free. A shovel or old sack/rug can help if you can't drive straight out.

Thrifty’s vehicles can also be equipped with winter-driving gear, including ski racks and tire chains.

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