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Is it safe to drive the German Alpine road- 3rd week of November?

Is it safe to drive the German Alpine road- 3rd week of November?

Oct 31st, 2016, 03:40 PM
  #1  
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Is it safe to drive the German Alpine road- 3rd week of November?

Hi.

I've always enjoyed road trips as a kid, which is why my husband and I have decided to rent a car in Germany for a week. We were heavily discouraged on driving during winter. Are the roads in the area we are going dangerous? Are there lots of turns and possibility of snow during this time of the year?

If this area is not ideal, is there another area in Germany where driving could be safer?

We appreciate your help.

Thanks.
prinstela is offline  
Oct 31st, 2016, 03:41 PM
  #2  
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By the way, our rental starts from Munich.
prinstela is offline  
Oct 31st, 2016, 04:29 PM
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There are many uncertainties.

Where you are going. Which "Alpine road"?
Chance of snow impacting travel. This is weather. Just because someone says "It usually doesn't snow this early" would not help if you happen to get stuck in snow this time. Just to show how early some kind of snow can get in Munich, look at for example https://www.wunderground.com/history...eq_city=Munich.

While they do get rid of snow quickly, it does not mean instantaneous. You can still have to cope with the snow.

Nobody can give you certainty even for "other" part of Germany at this time of the year. You need to have alternatives for each segment. If you hit halcyon days, fine. You can follow driving in Germany is a bowl of cherries recommendations. If you hit a snag, have ready to execute alternate plans. If you have to fly home, you probably don't want to be in the place just before your return flight where extracting yourself out can be a hassle in bad weather.
greg is offline  
Oct 31st, 2016, 06:02 PM
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Thank you, Greg.

We plan to go from Munich to Nuremburg to Garmisch to Fussen to Mittenwald to Bad Tolz.

Would you suggest an SUV over a sedan for winter driving?
prinstela is offline  
Oct 31st, 2016, 08:10 PM
  #5  
kja
 
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As noted on your other thread, driving with jet lag is always dangerous, to yourselves and others. No one can tell you whether you will experience sleet or snow or not. Driving on even flat roads in sleet and snow can be dangerous if you aren't accustomed to it. Driving on mountain roads with sleet or snow can be a decided risk. You can keep asking until someone says it'll be fine, and disregard all the warnings we are giving you, or you can find a way to plan your trip around public transportation. And with so much to enjoy in that part of the world, and so very little time to do it, it shouldn't be that hard to find some wonderful things to keep you busy.

Good luck!
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Nov 1st, 2016, 01:53 AM
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Firstly, the probability of fresh-fallen snow is not very high by late November.

Secondly, the Alpenstraße has not high elevations (like mountain passes), it rather leads through the foothills.

Thirdly, if snow has fallen, the roads are usually cleared from snow quickly and efficiently.

Fourthly, in winter the rental cars have winter tires (but better double-check with the rental car company to make sure!) and most of the European cars have front drive, so they are pretty good on snow. Sometimes, a warning "Winterausrüstung erforderlich" (winter equipment necessary) appears at the beginning of a road, this means winter tires are required. In extreme (and unlikely) cases, there is a sign requiring snow chains. In this case, just turn and take another road.

Fifthly, the networks of roads is very dense in Germany. There are always alternative roads available.

Sixthly, do you need a SUV? - Not really. Most of the people who live in the mountains (including myself) do drive ordinary sedans. A SUV might be more comfortable (higher seats, better sight, much space), but also is also more expensive. Be aware that many SUVs do not have 4-wheel-drive. When booking, make sure that it really has 4-wheel-drive if you really wish it.
traveller1959 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2016, 02:08 AM
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As said locals cope but are used to driving in the snow - are you ?
SUV : no. And it is big on small roads.
Do check you have winter tires (not snow tyres).
I drive 2 years ago same period close to Strasbourg and had to turn back and wait for the road to clear.
WoinParis is offline  
Nov 1st, 2016, 04:30 AM
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We have had snow in October in Germany. The road from Ettal to Oberammergau can be very treacherous in snow. Same for the road to Mittenwald. they are good about cleaning the roads but still not for people who are not use to driving in snow. Beware of ice, my worse fear.
It is also a law that all snow must be removed from your vehicle before taking on road. In other words just don't clean your windows but roof, hood and trunk area.
Macross is online now  
Nov 1st, 2016, 06:51 AM
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Hi, kja.

Chances of jet lag will be lessened as we are arriving in Amsterdam next week. We will have more than a week to adjust to the timezone, which is only 6 hours behind our time right now. Every time we travel to the US, we normally take 3 days to get accustomed to the new timezone so hopefully, jet lag will already be fine. We've also revised our itinerary and cancelled the long drives already.


Hi, traveller1959.

We're planning to do

Day 1 Munich to Garmisch
Day 2 Fussen
Day 3 Mittenwald
Day 4 Innsbruck
Day 5 Bad Tolz

From here, we'll be taking the train to Salzburg then Vienna.
Is this doable? Do you have more tips please?

Hi, woinparis.

The car rental agency will not refund us but we can amend our reservation. We can now upgrade from a mini coup to any car...even a Jaguar but we have to check if it's the best for the winter. Do you have a suggestion on which type of car will be best? At least...which brand is more reliable: Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo or Jag?

Thanks, Macross.
Will it be dangerous in those areas even during noon time?
prinstela is offline  
Nov 1st, 2016, 07:14 AM
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Never driven a jaguar. Wouldn't trust something British ;-)
Audi BMW mercs are ok. VW too.u
I would go for the Volvo. I never had a prob in snow with a Volvo. My brother had to put 50 Kgms of sand in the trunk of his BMW when there was snow ...
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Nov 1st, 2016, 07:33 AM
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Millions of people drive in Europe in winter, prinstela. It's not dangerous. The car will have winter tyres. It really doesn't matter which car, but it's nice if it's a bit higher than a mini cooper; any SUV-type will be fine.
Tulips is offline  
Nov 1st, 2016, 07:59 AM
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It will be ok as long as you aren't driving while snowing hard. The time in Oct was a surprise and we had a Mercedes that didn't have snow tires. Not fun! Everytime we have been in winter the car had right tires and we did ok. They clean the roads good. We had a problem with climbing a mountain road. Spinning wheels.
Macross is online now  
Nov 1st, 2016, 09:21 AM
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The hills of Upper Bavaria are not the Northern edge of Siberia - and not Colorado where you have major interstates getting blocked for days after a blizzard.

Adjust speed to road conditions, have winter tires, be aware of ice on bridges, and don't mistake other drivers with German plates for 'locals' who will miraculously cope with anything mother nature throws at them. Just because they drive like idiots, does not mean it's safe to do it.

The best way to learn to drive on snow, ice or slush is with a fully insured zero deductible rental car anyway ;-)
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2016, 10:18 AM
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Jaguar are Indian nowadays Wo. keep up.

A Mini would be fine, it is a BMW after all.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 04:49 PM
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Hahaha! Okay.

Thanks for the tips. So preferably an SUV with winter tires and full insurance.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 05:31 PM
  #16  
kja
 
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I'm glad to learn that you have time to recover from jet lag. Thanks for getting back to us on that!

I'm not sure why you think an SUV would be best. Sounds like several others questioned that suggestion.

Again, if you know how to drive on snow and pay attention to forecasts and are willing to adjust your very precise schedule based on the weather and know what to do if you hit ice unexpectedly, you should be fine.

Of course, most of the millions of people who drive in snow every year have learned to do so, not only through direct experience, but also by observing other drivers through a lifetime of observation. I don't think that's common in the Philippines?
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Nov 1st, 2016, 08:07 PM
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Kja,
It's you again. Okay. Noted on all those necessary preparations and researching. Yes, we don't have winter here. We are very blessed to have summer almost all year round. We've tried traveling during winter in Alaska and Canada but that with a driver, maybe this won't count. Oopsy! This will be our first 'just us' trip.
prinstela is offline  
Nov 1st, 2016, 09:04 PM
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Are you assuming SUVs are more preferable in winter perhaps because the advertisements want you to connect the dots between the two? Studies exist comparing the two, for example http://theceiworld.com/suv-drivers-o...winter-safety/
greg is offline  
Nov 1st, 2016, 09:33 PM
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That's a helpful article, Greg. Thanks. We will drive as safe as we can in either sedan or suv.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 09:46 PM
  #20  
kja
 
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Yes, me again, printsela.

And this time with a question for everyone who sees this thread:

I wonder how many of you have seen an accident on icy or snowy roads? I’ve seen three fatal accidents on such roads, and believe me, it isn’t something I want to see again.

- In one case, a group of eight teens crashed into a tree when their vehicle slipped off the road on a patch of ice on a road that had been cleared of snow. Six were still alive when the car in which I was traveling reached them; my mother, father, and I may have survived only because that accident let us know about the patch of ice ahead. From what we learned later, it seems that two of those teens survived, but with permanent injuries. I can assure you that the others did not pass quickly or quietly.

- In a second case that again involved a patch of ice on an otherwise cleared section of road, a car flipped and crossed the divided highway ahead of me. A mother and 3 children under the age of 6 were killed in that car (the father, who was driving, survived -- I can't imagine with what psychological trauma); a second car in which 2 adults were traveling in the opposite direction was forced off the road in response, and one of them died; the other was seriously injured. Again, I can assure you that few deaths were immediate or painless.

- In a third case, I found a survivor staggering along a snowy road; he died in pain and in my arms.

And none of these roads were snowy or icy when I set out.

Honestly, no one can offer you assurances of safety if you are going to drive roads where you might experience snow or ice or sleet.

Most of us who must drive in bad weather know the risks and have learned how to drive on dangerous roads.

For those who don’t need to face those risks on a routine basis, and have not been specifically taught how to drive safely in those conditions, all I can do is ask that you think about your options – for yourselves and others.
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