Tahoe Top 5: What to keep in your car to ensure safety during winter storms | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Top 5: What to keep in your car to ensure safety during winter storms

CHP-Truckee officers investigate "a collision between a vehicle and a Cal Trans plow" that occurred Tuesday, Feb. 21 on Highway 89, south of Alpine Meadows. Driving in the Tahoe snow is not an easy task.
Courtesy CHP-Truckee |

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Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee, located at 11320 Donner Pass Road, near the Highway 89 intersection, has a large supply of the tools you’ll need to stay safe this winter and is run by a friendly and knowledgeable staff who can answer questions you may have on a project or tool you may be considering. Visit http://www.mountainhardwareandsports.com to learn more.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Strolling the aisles of Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee this week, shoppers and employees discuss the scene on area highways the night before: gridlocked roadways, someone cooking dinner in the middle of traffic (we assume with some kind of camp stove?) cars stuck where they should not be stuck — even one person who pulled into The Mousehole between Truckee and Squaw to, yes, put on chains out of the snow.

Heavy storms aren’t going anywhere, so it is our responsibility as drivers to keep safety first, and there are many regional hardware stores that can equip you with all the tools you’ll need in case you’re held up from making it to your destination as planned.

“For people who haven’t been here that long, this is a typical winter,” said Steve Stevenson, Mountain Hardware’s manager. “It’s like what it used to be, and it is challenging.”

Stevenson says this is probably one of the wettest winters he’s seen in his 40 years here and urges motorists to take it slow and steady — “people just need to take it in stride and be patient.”

Of course, everyone knows to have chains, wiper fluid, an ice scraper, an extra layer of warm clothes and drinking water packed, but what do the experts suggest?

Below is the Sierra Sun’s Tahoe Top Five list this week of items that you should be sure to keep in your car this season. Each pictured item is available at Mountain Hardware in Truckee with current pricing included.

1. Shovel

Be sure to keep a short-handled, square-point shovel in the car so when you or another driver is stuck, you can dig the car out.

Cost: $17.99

2. Tow Strap

Always pack at least a 20-foot tow strap; it might come in handy to pull a stuck vehicle out of wet snow.

Cost: Emergency kit: $69.99; Single strap: $19.99

3. Jumper Cables

A dead battery is a quick fix when you’ve got jumper cables in the car. It seems obvious, but something often forgotten.

Cost: $28.99

4. Flashlight

Keep a flashlight in your car in case you’re stranded at night, as iPhone flashlights only go so far.

Cost: Maglite: $23.99; Eveready: $15.99

5. Sleeping Bag

You could be stuck for a while, keep a blanket in the car to stay as comfortable as you can be until help arrives.

Cost: $139

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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