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MARYSVILLE October 13, 2016 – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 3 is alerting motorists to an oncoming series of winter storms arriving on Thursday night, October 13 and continuing, on and off, throughout the weekend into Monday.

Heavy rains and winds, including the possibility of snow over the Sierra passes, will result in winter driving conditions for much of Northern California. Severe weather may slow motorists, resulting in roadway congestion.

The National Weather Service (NWS) expects the first storm to arrive Thursday night and continue into Friday. Another storm is predicted to arrive Saturday and continue through Sunday with heavy rains and Sierra snow above 7,000 feet Sunday night and into Monday, October 17. Chain controls on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and on U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit should be anticipated. Heavy rains may cause increased water pooling on roadways, increasing the risk of hydroplaning and loss of tire traction.

Caltrans strongly encourages motorists to slow down and follow these winter driving tips:

WINTERIZE YOUR VEHICLE

  • Check your antifreeze level and make sure it is properly filled and formulated for winter temperatures.
  • Check your tire pressure and tread depth to minimize sliding and/or hydroplaning.
  • Replace the wiper blades and fill the windshield wiper fluid reservoir; be sure to use a winter formula to help de-ice windshields.
  • If traveling to higher elevations, carry tire chains that are the correct size for your tires, in good working order and practice installing the chains before needing to use them.
  • Have a full tank of fuel before traveling.

CARRY A TRAVEL KIT

  • Have blankets, extra clothing, food and water, towels, a shovel, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small bag of sand or kitty litter and road flares.
  • When traveling with children, carry small activity packs for them to help prevent driver distractions.
  • Have a fully charged cell phone before leaving and carry a car charger.

DRIVE CAREFULLY

  • Reduce speeds during winter weather and allow for additional stopping time.
  • Turn on headlights to see and be seen.
  • Turn off cruise control.
  • Avoid quick starts, stops and fast turns. Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly and gradually.
  • Keep additional distance from other vehicles.
  • Do not drive into areas where water covers the whole roadway and slow down when water is pooling on the roadway to avoid hydroplaning.
  • Watch carefully for snow removal equipment and don’t crowd the plow. Only pass snow removal vehicles when a safe, legal passing area is available and sight distance is good.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas; they may freeze first.
  • If your vehicle begins to skid, steer in the direction of the slide and slowly remove your foot from the accelerator.

CHECK CONDITIONS FREQUENTLY

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  • Check out Caltrans’ “QuickMap” for current road conditions and chain requirements at http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov. A mobile version is also available.
  • Motorists also can use the California Highway Information Network automated phone service by calling 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).
  • Motorists can see real-time conditions before they hit the road by using our map of traffic cameras in the Sacramento Valley, up Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50 and around the Tahoe Basin.
  • For Interstate 80 and Highway 50 updates, follow Caltrans District 3 on Twitter and Facebook to receive the latest information about current roadway conditions.
  • For forecast information, visit the National Weather Service website.

ANTICIPATE DELAYS AND CLOSURES

  • Understand that winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly and allow for extra travel time.
  • Make sure you share the route you intend to take with friends or family.
  • Exercise patience and respect for other motorists.

Motorists are urged to be “Be Work Zone Alert” and to “Slow for the Cone Zone.” Caltrans will issue updates on Twitter @D3PIO and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict 3.