Driving tips for the steep alpine passes

Driving tips for the steep alpine passes

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Posts: 9. This thread is closed.
Mgsaz
Mgsaz
4 posts
new member
Jun 17, 2016 - 10:24 PM

I am supporting my husband for his Swissman event next week. One of the roles I will undertake is to drive through the following passes:

Gothardpass

Furkapass

Grimselpass

I have never ever done mountain driving and have a fear of heights but I cannot back out. So, from the experts, I need some tips and techniques about driving. I will have an automatic vehicle. Trust me, if I could pull out, I would. I have been driven around plenty of times so have a vague idea but never attempted it myself. Till now. So please, send me good guidance.

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 18, 2016 - 9:07 AM

Hi Mgsaz, welcome to MySwissAlps!

Did you read our tips at myswissalps.com/car, specifically "Traffic regulations" and "How to drive in the mountains"? If not, please start there and feel free to post additional questions here.

Mgsaz
Mgsaz
4 posts
new member
Jun 18, 2016 - 11:17 AM in reply to Arno

Yes thank you for your response. I did read all the rules, that's the first thing I did. I do have a general idea as we visited Switzerland about a year ago and got a chance to see and drive through Sustenpass. I have a fear of losing grip and control of the car although I will drive slower and let the fast drivers pass me by. And, I might have to drive in the dark as the race ends at midnight.

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 18, 2016 - 12:03 PM in reply to Mgsaz

Hi Mgsaz,

Great, sounds like you know how to do it, you just need the experience. Taking it slow is definitely good, for safety and peace of mind. On most roads, there are plenty of spots to park for a few minutes, that might help as well. Driving in the dark on a pass road is doable, but if you can avoid it you may want to do so. There are no street lights, so concentrated driving matters even more than during the day. Perhaps you could start with a shorter/lower pass road, if your itinerary allows that. The first that comes to my mind is the Brünig Pass.

Last modified on Jun 18, 2016 - 12:23 PM by Annika
Mgsaz
Mgsaz
4 posts
new member
Jun 18, 2016 - 1:21 PM in reply to Arno

Okay I think, pre-race when we drive from Zurich to Ascona, I would get some time to experience the drive. Will check if Brunig pass can fit in the route. Just need to gain the confidence.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jun 18, 2016 - 10:52 PM in reply to Mgsaz

Hi Mgsaz-

I recall that many of the high alpine pass roads do not have guardrails at places that I might expect them.

If you go over the edge, your husband could possibly have difficulty completing his event.

You would be wise to consider that.

I have only driven those roads once or twice, and I am a skilled and aggressive driver on interesting roads as well as boring ones.

Nonetheless, I would never tackle those passes on a forced schedule.

Good luck. Plan on very low average speeds. If you are caught between a need for safety and a need to meet a schedule, you might consider the potential consequences of trying to meet an aggressive schedule on those roads.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jun 18, 2016 - 10:54 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jun 18, 2016 - 10:57 PM in reply to Mgsaz

<<"Will check if Brunig pass can fit in the route.">>

The Brunig is tame and easy and short. Try driving over the Gotthard...on the old road if you can access it. Or, the Simplon.

Slowpoke

Mgsaz
Mgsaz
4 posts
new member
Jun 18, 2016 - 11:10 PM

If conditions are bad the route will change as well. I am aware of the risks and just will be relying on luck and good wishes. But will definitely try to drive through once before race day. And will be slow...wish there were volunteer drivers. Will check with the race organisers.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jun 19, 2016 - 12:34 AM in reply to Mgsaz

Hi Mgsaz-

In the past, there were famous sports car races that were true "road " races...The Mille Miglia in Italy, including mountainous roads, is still run.

www.1000miglia.it/2016 -Edition/Route-2016/

For those races, the drivers and their navigators drive the routes ahead of time, often more than once, and prepare notebooks for all the turns, and straightaways, so that they know how fast they can drive, what gear they should use, etc..

That is a bit different from :

<<"But will definitely try to drive through once before race day.">>

And, of course you are not racing in the way that those drivers are and were. Their intense preparation is critical for their survival, let alone their success. Partly as a result of their preparations, very few drivers or navigators get killed.

Not clear from you comments if your husband is "ein Schweizer stolz und treu...">> but, if he is, he might also have the Swiss characteristic of doing things as well as possible, and thoroughly.

Perhaps you might think about how to plan and definitely do (not merely "try" to do ) it well and carefully.

Will you have a navigator with you in your car?

I've said enough; probably too much. Good luck.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jun 19, 2016 - 12:45 AM by Slowpoke

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