“Can I drive in the winter when I travel to Hokkaido?”
You might read some question about like above in Twitter or Tripadvisor. I can say it depends on where you go. Wherever you go, winter driving makes you nurbus and hard, even if local driver.
Usually it is more snow in Japan sea side than Pacific Ocean side. Temperature is colder in the east than west.
It is dangerous in the term of beginning of the winter and right after snowing or the end of the winter. Road has to be so icy and slippery that we local driver are getting used to it day by day. It is too hard for us to drive if heavy snow came suddenly. Of course, many traffic accidents will occur just one night.
Especially pay attention to these points.
- It is dangerous to drive on the bridge that is icy and slippery. Many accidents occur here in the night.
- Watch out when you go through the tunnel, its entrance and exit are very icy and slippery. This is the place where many fatal accidents occur. Especially you pay attention to the Kamuikotan tunnel from Asahikawa to Fukagawa on the route 12 where the exit is slightly curving and reversed banked. This exit has the fatal accidents every year. The most famous dangerous point known for local residents.
- It is more horrible to be no snow on the road. This is icy road. It is safe to be moderate snow on the road.
- If you go through the pass, going down has to be more than three times harder than going up the pass. Do not feel easy when you go up the top. The downward slope makes you fear every so often. It is the same for stopping your car even though you are on 4WD, AWD or FF.