Motorists warned of winter driving dangers | SierraSun.com

Motorists warned of winter driving dangers

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoJosh Wang, Josh Riaille and David Chu install chains on Interstate 80 before driving through chain control last week. Tahoe-area authorities caution drivers to be prepared for winter hazards.
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Snow is in the forecast for this week, as a storm moves into the area today.

According to the National Weather Service, this is a fast-moving storm and cold front coming from the Gulf of Alaska. It should bring cold, polar air to Truckee and the Tahoe Basin.

How much snow develops depends on the storm’s path. But snow is possible, so be ready for winter driving.

While there were no major accidents reported in the Truckee-area this past weekend, California Highway Patrol Officers did handle numerous spinouts on Christmas Eve.

“A lot of folks think it’s the out-of-towners, but typically, it’s not,” said CHP Officer Joe Edwards.

Edwards recently conducted a search of the files of every type of car crashes from 2005, and found that the majority of incidents were caused by Truckee residents, not tourists, he said.

With the storm approaching on Friday, Edwards cautioned drivers to take it slow.

“The roadways will turn into ice,” he said. “It’s always best to prepare for the worst.”

– Before driving, check with the Caltrans Highway Information Network at 800-427-7623.

– Make sure brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, and exhaust systems are in top condition.

– Check antifreeze.

– Add special solvent to windshield washer reservoir to prevent ice from forming.

– Check tires to make sure they are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition.

– Allow enough time to safely reach your destination and plan route to avoid snow/icy areas.

– Keep your gas tank full. It may be necessary to change routes or turn back during a bad storm or you may be caught in a traffic delay.

– Keep windshield and windows clear.

– Reduce speed. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.

– Be more observant. Visibility is often limited in winter weather conditions.

– Slow down and watch for other vehicles that have flashing lights.

– When stalled, stay with your vehicle and try to conserve fuel while maintaining warmth. Be alert to any possible exhaust or monoxide problems.

– chains

– ice scraper

– a shovel to free your car if it is snowed in

– sand or burlap for traction if your wheels should become mired in snow

– water, food

– warm blankets and extra clothing

– a flashlight

– an extra car key

– a cell phone

– a road map