Hello there! And hello 2018!  I’m excited to share the first post for this year. Last month I promised a few friends to write about a misadventure (or adventure) in Imst, Austria that happened during a winter road trip a few years ago.  While there are many things that can possibly go wrong on a road trip, winter road trip has an additional set of risk and things to be prepared for a smooth journey, on top of the common preparation on other seasons.

On another note, I’m also excited to see how this year’s blogging journey goes. I think this year is going to be exciting with a  few things being much more in place. Like a proper photo storage system for ease of data management, and the house repair is now completed.

 

What can go wrong on a winter roadtrip
Winter road tripping

The Winter Trip

Traveling to Europe is a dream come true, and traveling in winter to experience the different climate is another dream came true for me. Though I was born in a place that has snow, I was still too small to remember any winter experiences. So I was thrilled to be on this trip. The journey started from a non-snowed place (Rome) to a few snowed towns then back to non-snowed place (Paris). And the misadventure (or adventure (; ) happened in Austria.

A Place Called Imst in  Austria and What Can Possibly Go Wrong On A Road Trip

Not a common Austria travel destination like Vienna, Imst is the federal state of Tyrol Austria not far from the much known nearby town- Innsbruck for being a former Winter Olympic city twice. Located about 50 kilometers apart to be exact, this town was where my rented car broke down after I left Innsbruck, with three others including my boyfriend now husband.

After about 30 minutes from Innsbruck, our car suddenly stopped. Weather condition at that time was snowy with a bit of blizzard, not harsh and not mild either. There were many cars behind us. We tried restarting the engine, and we managed. However when we pressed the gas, the car moved forward just a bit then immediately stopped again, and it was sort of locking us from doing anything.

The first thing we did was tried to get the car to the roadside and push the car to a nearby landmark. It was a restaurant but it was closed at that time.

Winter Road Trip what can go wrong
Us while preparing for the journey before we resume the trip that morning

 

The Rescue

The advice from car rental company when we called them was to call Fiat customer service, and we were lucky that response from Fiat was quite fast. They sent a mechanic and tow-truck not too long after we reported.

We explained what happened, and he did visual checking and tried restarting the engine but to no avail. He said the best thing is to analyse at the workshop. He couldn’t tell the problem there.

what can go wrong winter road trip precaution
The scene. The mechanic was checking our car on site

Precautions That We Have Taken And What Can Go Wrong On Winter Road Trip

These were a few of the precautions that we have taken throughout this trip:

1. We have a planned route
2. Add anti-gelato into fuel-tank
3. Warm up the car at open space
4. De-ice the car every time we start a journey
5. Clear the snow from the car every time we start a journey
6. Have a spare tire
7. Drive carefully and slowly especially on slippery roads, while keeping a safe distance
8. Always check road and weather conditions before starting a journey
9. A lot of water and food supplies in the car

So, let’s guess what went wrong? We had no idea at the beginning. It was rather funny too that one of four of us is, in fact, a seasoned world traveler and has lived and drove in Europe for over a decade, and one is active in emergency search and rescue missions and safety thing. So it was rather ironic.

Some Fun Part

All of us headed to the workshop on the truck. The fun part – all of us had a front-row seat in a huge tow-truck. With the elevated cabin and huge window,  our seats became a cool vantage point to enjoy the magical winter view! Truck and lorry drivers are lucky in this sense.  Check out the view!

imst austria river winter
One of the view as we passed a bridge

Other front-row seat views from the truck shared in slider below:

Rescue during winter road trip
Imst River Austria
winter road trip emergency rescue
Car problem in Imst Austria rescue
View from rescue truck winter road trip
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On the way to workshop
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What Went Wrong

While the mechanic team checked the car, we waited at the pantry. Snacks and drinks were available, and there was also a car showroom displaying Fiat and Opel cars- from the old, modern to the current model. So we pretty much repeated between eating, drinking, viewing the car, and talked.

After a few hours- they identified the cause. The problem was totally unexpected that it was actually due to the type of tire. The analysis was run until 5 pm, no technical issue with the car, only to realize in the end that the issue was the tires are not for winter!!! This was totally unexpected as we informed the car rental company about our route. So, I think it’s our responsibility too, to check that the car is on winter wheel?

According to the mechanic, drivers can be punished for not using the appropriate wheel if found by any law-enforcers should there’s any roadblocks or random checks. So we were fortunate that that didn’t happen. And we were also fortunate to encounter kind and helpful people, especially staff at the workshop.

Problem found but the solution took more time as we had to wait for the winter wheel to arrive on the next day. So we spent the night at a nearby BNB. We got the mechanic/truck driver to assist us to book the place.

The Aftermath

This event had actually caused some hole in our wallet. We had to buy new tires, four tires. There was no space to place the current tires, so we had to leave them at the workshop for good. You do the math as everything is in Euro.

And this is also the biggest misadventure (or adventure) on my travels so far. Have you experienced a misadventure (or adventure) on your road trip, would love to know your story. The next time you go on a road trip, or a winter road trip, always take extra precaution, and ask yourself:  What can possibly go wrong? What can possibly go wrong on a winter road trip?

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