Class teaches safe winter driving
‘Tis the season of holidays, winter sports and snow… and with that snow comes chain controls, spinouts and black ice. It’s the latter three topics that CHP Officer Larry Bousquet hopes to educate the public about in a series of three Ice & Snow Driving classes at Sierra College this winter.14 people showed up for the first class, held Nov. 7, to learn about techniques for acceleration, turning, braking and maintaining control of a vehicle on icy mountain roads. Bousquet has been teaching these courses for four years, for city employees such as police and firefighters as well as for the general public.His biggest complaint about Truckee drivers: “Probably the biggest problem is speeding – people are just going too fast.”Bousquet points out that with the proliferation of four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles, fewer people need to put on chains, which means that they can drive faster, which often leads to trouble.”A lot of people misuse their brakes as well,” Bousquet said.Participants in the class ranged from winter driving veterans to Truckee newcomers to teenagers still practicing to get their drivers licenses.Truckee resident Trisha Grosjean thought that more people in the community could benefit from officer Bousquet’s presentation.”My honest opinion was that it was very informative. He was adamant about being safe in the winter, he was funny, he held everyone’s interest… it was a good class,” Grosjean said, adding, “I’m totally surprised that more parents didn’t have their kids attend. I have a 15-year-old who just got her permit, and I made her go.”Though she has lived in Truckee for eight years, Grosjean did learn the difference between R1 and R2 chain control levels, and was happy to have officer Bousquet point out the areas in town where he’s seen the most accidents occur during the winter months.Newcomers to the Truckee area Terri and Neil Cross were happy to have some instruction on proper snow driving techniques before having to deal with the worst of the winter conditions. “We’re both from Alabama and have just recently moved to the Truckee area. I’ve never really driven in snow or anything, so the class was really beneficial to me,” Terri said.The only complaint that course attendees had was the fact that they weren’t able to practice some of the techniques that they were taught during the course in an empty parking lot.While no list can cover all situations one might face this winter, officer Bousquet recommends that drivers slow down when driving in adverse conditions, make sure they are wearing seat belts at all times and ensure that their vehicles are prepared to handle winter conditions (for example: carry chains, replace old windshield wipers and check antifreeze levels).A brochure with these and more winter driving tips can be acquired by calling (530) 741-4572. In addition, officer Bousquet will hold two more winter driving classes on Dec. 5 (in Spanish) from 7 – 9 p.m. and on Dec. 12 (in English) from 6 – 9 p.m. Both classes will be held at Sierra College, room 203, located at 10725 Pioneer Trail. No reservations are required. For more information please contact Diane Tomasello at (530) 550-2225.
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