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Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

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Texas
posts: 5
reviews: 7
Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

Greetings, we are driving from Genoa to Beaune the first week of November. Can we expect snow? Does anyone know of a 'driving conditions' live-cam or English language website where we can get updated weather conditions that day?

Biarritz, France
Destination Expert
for Biarritz, San Sebastian - Donostia
posts: 2,947
reviews: 255
1. Re: Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

The highest section on this journey (assuming you do this: http://goo.gl/maps/Fq5Hg ) will be on the road going up to the Mont Blanc tunnel at Courmayeur. This road is used by lots of transport companies so any snow is cleared very rapidly. The same goes on the other side of the tunnel in Chamonix. Once you leave Chamonix it is a dual carriageway for the rest of the journey.

You can get snow at this time of year but I wouldn't worry about it too much. If you are hiring a car make sure they have fitted it with snow tyres. These also perform better in cold conditions, not just snow.

Since your only problem with the snow will be around Chamonix, there is a daily weather forecast in English here: chamonix-meteo.com/chamonix-mont-blanc/weath…

You can also get more information in English including real-time traffic information and some weather here: http://www.autoroutes.fr/index.htm

Edited: 12:15 pm, August 03, 2012
Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
posts: 13,852
reviews: 6
2. Re: Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

Hi, VanessaTexas, just in case you aren't familiar with the term, a dual carriageway is a four-lane highway with a median much like our interstates but access may not be limited so there can be crossroads. In other words, it's a good highway with lots of room for maneuvering.

November is the start of any snow and, as above, the main routes are cleared very quickly. They have all the equipment and services ready and available! I wouldn't worry. There could, of course, be a freak seriously heavy snowfall but it is very, very unlikely that early.

Have a great trip!

Texas
posts: 5
reviews: 7
3. Re: Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

Thank you for the excellent advice and links!

As a matter of fact we will be driving a car (hired mid October), so it sounds like we need to ask for the snow tires when we pick it up.

Thanks again.

Goldau, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Lucerne, Zug, Brunnen
posts: 9,219
reviews: 164
4. Re: Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

The last two years we had the first heavy snow falls in October and then again in November.

If you drive in the snow and ice you need your car equipped with winter tires and maybe even chains. Roads in higher areas may be closed temprarely or even for the winter.

For safety reasons I would recommend to travel by public transport especialy if you are not used to travel under winter circumstances.

Ask for the snow tires when you hire! It will cost you a supplement.

pore

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
posts: 3,449
reviews: 307
5. Re: Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

A quick note to let you know that the GPS could drive you through another road via "Frejus Tunnel". I think you'd be better off via Mont-Blanc Tunnel. And, yes, do ask for the snow tires! Beyond the snow, they are helpful on wet and cold roads.

Btw, you could also make a small detour should you want to spend a night in Provence (in Avignon for instance).

Safe travel

munich
posts: 8,273
reviews: 38
6. Re: Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

Nobody can predict the weather. Don't know where it snowed early in Switzerland last year early but I can tell you that there was not a snowflake to be seen in/around Verbier in early/mid December. But heyho my Avatar was taken in mid October in Austria at 1100m - then the snow disappeared.

Winter tyres could be an issue and you haven't indicated your overall itinerary with the car (pick-up and drop off). In Germany and Austria Winter tyres are compulsory and all major hirecar companies fit them as standard from ~ 1st November. Personally fit mine already mid-October. In Switzerland the winter tyre law is slightly different to Austria/Germany (similar to the old German law) but many of the hirecar companies fit winter tyres as standard. In Italy there is not blanket law as in Austria/Germany although there are some regional regulations.

Stupidly in Italy the law is Winter tyres OR chains. I say stupid as already aforementioned winter tyres afford better safety and you can drive at normal speed even in snow. Chains limit you to 20kmh

However your hire is too early to know if your chosen hire car company will have a set available and if Italy and your pick up is not in an alpine region could be more difficult than say picking up in Switzerland (or Germany/Austria)

And if a oneway rental from one country to another you will pay a hefty drop off fee

Edited: 10:56 am, August 06, 2012
Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 19,268
reviews: 126
7. Re: Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

No one has adressed the question of driving through the Jura. And the Jura mountains are often colder than the Alps. IF your planned route to Beaune is via Lausanne and Vallorbe I would be concerned in November as the roads through the Jura can be very icey which is worse than snow-covered.

I wouldn't worry too much about the autostrada approach to the Mt Blanc tunnel nor about the descent from there to Sallanches. But the Jura - yes!

PS speed limit with chains on is usually 30km but not enforced. More for the good of the car than anything else, except that a higher speeds you can skid! In the Val'Aosta, Italy it is clearly posted: 1 October to 30 April - Snow tyres OR chains.

8. Re: Driving Conditions in the Alps 1st week of November

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