Sierra Winter Driving Conditions Expected

MARYSVILLE October 30, 2016 – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 3 is alerting motorists to the National Weather Service’s notice of a Winter Storm Watch on Sunday, October 30 for the higher elevations of the Sierra mountains. U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit expects 3-7 inches of snow accumulation and 6-10 inches of snow are predicted on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit. Caltrans snow removal crews are prepared for roadway clearing but it is likely chain controls will be in place on Sunday October 30.

d3Heavy rains in the Sacramento Valley and surrounding foothills through the weekend and snow in the higher elevations on Sunday will result in winter driving conditions for much of Northern California. Severe weather may slow motorists, resulting in roadway congestion. Wet and slippery roadways reduce tire traction, especially at high vehicle speeds. Hydroplaning can result in loss of driver control. Motorists are encouraged to slow down and observe the following winter driving tips which can also be found at http://www.dot.ca.gov/cttravel/winter.html:

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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

  • 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.