Thursday, 29 July 2021

Drivers urged to prepare for winter travel

Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol want to remind motorists to prepare for winter weather. If you must travel during a winter storm, be prepared and use caution as well as common sense.

Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition. In particular, check the antifreeze, tire pressure and tread, brakes, windshield wipers, heater, defroster and exhaust system.  

When traveling through snow country, motorists should carry tire chains that are the proper type and size, and are in good condition.  

Chains must be installed on the drive wheels, so make sure you know if your vehicle is front or rear wheel drive.  

Other useful items to take are a flashlight, chain repair links, ice scraper or spray deicer and a shovel.  

Taking along water, food, warm blankets, and extra clothing will make you more comfortable if you experience a lengthy delay.  

And before you leave, put an extra car door key in your pocket; a number of motorists have locked themselves out of their cars when putting on chains.  

“A prepared motorist is a safer motorist to themselves, other travelers, and our highway workers. Focus on the road and avoid distractions, so everyone can arrive safely to their destinations.” said Caltrans District 1 Director Charles Fielder.

Don’t be rushed. Get an early start to allow more time to reach your destination.

Let someone know your travel plans, your route, and when you expect to arrive. Make sure to let them know if plans change.  

Keep your fuel tank full in case it’s necessary to change routes or you get caught in a traffic delay.

A highway speed of 55 or 65 miles an hour may be safe in dry weather, but it is an invitation for trouble in winter weather.

“Be more observant, attentive and slow down. Snow and ice make stopping distances much longer, so leave more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead,” said CHP Officer Matt Harvey.

Bridge decks and shady spots can be icy when other areas are not, so remember to avoid sudden stops and quick direction changes.                                        

If you encounter fog, make sure to slow down and drive with your lights on low beam. Don’t stop on a highway, unless it’s an emergency.  

Keep a close watch on your speed, and don’t forget the law that requires you to have your headlights on anytime your windshield wipers are on continuously.

Officer Harvey said, “Remember to always wear your seat belt, don’t drink and drive, and reduce your speed when on slick pavement.”

Before traveling and during your trip, be sure to check current road conditions by calling the California Highway Information Network at 1-800-427-7623, by visiting www.dot.ca.gov or by monitoring the local media.

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