Keeping an eye on the road |

Keeping an eye on the road

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Skeen stands with a patrol car at the local CHP office last week. Skeen is the CHP's new public information officer in Truckee.

You’ll hear his voice and see his face this winter, but will you heed his warnings?Officer Steve Skeen is the new public information officer for the California Highway Patrol in Truckee, and after serving as a traffic officer for more than 15 years, he knows a thing or two about serving the community and keeping winter roads safe.”I’m not going to say I have all the answers, but I’ve been living and working up here and have a lot of experience,” Skeen said. “Of course, right when I think I’ve seen it all, something else happens.”Skeen said that the biggest problems on local roadways come with changing weather. “People find themselves in trouble when there is snow on the ground and they are going too fast,” he said. “The best way to avoid an accident is to just slow down.”In order to avoid spinouts and rollovers this winter, Skeen urged people to slow their speed well below the posted limit and allow plenty of room between other cars. He also said drivers should carry chains and an emergency box with food, blankets and water at all times. And they should check the weather before hitting the road.

The way a driver reacts to slick roads and skidding tires can also mean the difference between a safe recovery and a nasty collision. “Lightly apply your brakes, and if you start losing control get off them,” Skeen said. “When people ram on their breaks, their tires are going to stop and they’ll slide. If you are driving slow, you’re able to maintain better control.”Smart startSkeen and his fellow officers have plenty of other tips to share with interested drivers, particularly teens and seniors who are invited to attend two new driving classes hosted by the CHP. For new drivers and their parents, the Start Smart program helps teens make smart driving decisions by educating them with tips and hard-hitting facts. A similar program for seniors gives a 15-point checklist to assess competence behind the wheel.

Drivers can also contact Skeen for child safety seat inspections, VIN verifications and other free services offered by the CHP.”I don’t want people in the community to be reluctant about contacting the CHP. If they have questions and concerns they can certainly contact me directly,” Skeen said.Contact Skeen at 582-7526.PULL:

It’s the same thing every year, according to CHP officer Steve Skeen – too many drivers ignoring speed limits and road condition warnings. Difficult-to-maneuver roads don’t help matters either. To avoid a nasty accident, Skeen recommends that drivers take particular care on some local stretches of roadway:* Interstate 80 East after the Donner Summit Rest Area* Interstate 80 East from Hirschdale to Floriston* Highway 89 south of AmeriGas at Rampart* Highway 267 from Northstar to Highway 28

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