Driving from Innsbruck to Zurich

Old Nov 5th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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Driving from Innsbruck to Zurich

Towards the middle of December, my family and I are planning on driving from Innsbruck to Zurich. I am not an experienced driver in snowy or icy conditions (I come from South Africa!) and was wondering if it is likely to be safe to drive the suggested route via Landeck and St Anton as indicated by Google Maps or whether it is likely to be a difficult drive if there has been much snowfall prior to the planned drive.
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 08:24 AM
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www.viamichelin.com takes into account the date entered in the itinerary. For example, some Alpine roads are closed in the winter, and Michelin would give an alternate route.
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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The main itinerary is a 4 lanes highway, with a few 2 lanes sections and a very short stretch on town roads at the Swiss border. As the itinerary usually has some traffic, roads are kept clean and it is unlikely that you will find snow on the road except in case of very recent and abundant snowfall (even if you cannot really never rule out this case). Be sure the car has winter tires as they are much safer at low temperatures. If you do not feel like driving consider train over the same itinerary.
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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In the case of really serious snowfall, there would most probably be snow on all alternative itineraries too.
Zurich bound trains leave Innsbruck every 2 hrs from 7.40 until 19.40 (3 1/2 hrs journey).
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 10:43 AM
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Do make sure you have snow tires. We got caught in an early snowfall once in Bavaria and the mercedes we had rented did not have snow tires on it. Slip sliding we went. The steep climbs were difficult. We live in Florida so get as much snow as you. The train would be stress free.
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 11:07 AM
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Is there a particular reason you have to drive? Taking the train would be a lot more comfortable -- and how nice to watch the snow from your comfortable train seat, with a glass of wine or beer at hand, rather than gripping the steering wheel tightly, staring grimly at the road and traffic, getting that stress-driving ache between your shoulder blades and wondering why on earth you thought this was the best way to travel between two places amply served by mass transit...
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 06:31 AM
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..and don't forget the cost of fuel (about 35 EUR) and road tolls (about 43 EUR).
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 07:33 AM
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Is there a particular reason you have to drive?

Another thread by the OP indicates a more ambitious driving tour.
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 08:15 AM
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Tolls? You need an Austrian vignette (8 euros for 10 days), a Swiss vignette (40 CHF for 1 year = eur 32.50) and you have to pay the Arlberg tunne (eur 8.50).
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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Mid December is not necessarily a good time to see snow, at least not in the lower elevations and valleys in the Alps. Where both Innsbruck and Zurich are located. The journey in between follows heavily traveled motorways - and is not a scenic by-way which would only be passable in fair weather. Morning frost and partially icy roads will be more probable than snowed in roads.
Unless major weather escapades happen, the Alpine motorways are in operation 24/7, 365 days a year.
As it has been said a few times, winter tires are a must. And obviously a bit of common sense to adjust speed to road conditions. One traffic sign to remember is the snow flake in a red triangle. This sign warns of possibly icy roads ahead, e.g. on bridges.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 01:27 PM
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Just to make up your mind: a few years ago I had a short trip to Innsbruck in early December. I chose to stay in Igls, that being higher than downtown Innsbruck is usually a couple of °C degrees colder. I parked my car in the open air and the last morning, after a freezing night, I found all the car glasses completely iced. It was -5 °C at 8am or so. So I began scraping off ice from glasses. When I had finished the last one, the first one was already iced again.
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Old Nov 8th, 2013, 12:51 AM
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As OP seems to plan to drive a lot around, from Switzerland to Czech and back, he/she should definetely buy a basic kit of de-icing equipment at first gas station. De-icing spray and micro fibre sponge to wipe from inside is all you need and won't cost more than a few euros. If you rent from Zurich, the cleaning liquid for wideshield sprayers should already have de-icing agents added. But when you refill, keep in mind to use a ready-made mix or add the respective amount to plain water.
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Old Nov 8th, 2013, 08:09 PM
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Thanks everyone for the really useful tips. It is much appreciated.
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