NDOT urges drivers to plan ahead this storm season
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – The Lake Tahoe basin saw a fresh blanket of fresh snow with more predicted to come for the remainder of the year, which could potentially put a dent into the travel plans of those planning on leaving or entering the basin.
Although Nevada Department of Transportation’s PIO Meg Ragonese recommends not traveling unless absolutely necessary, she recommended many pre-travel tips for those who will be on the roads this holiday weekend.
“Make sure that you are planning your travel as best you can in accordance with the weather,” said Ragonese. “We want to make sure we’re planning our time on winter roads, that helps keep us safe and other drivers around us safer.”
A few ways to plan ahead is to call 511 or visit nvroads.com for the most up-to-date conditions. For those driving on the California side of the basin, dot.ca.gov/travel, or call the Caltrans Highway Information Network (CHIN) at (800) 427-7623.
“You can find weather and traffic information as well as any highway conditions such as chain requirements on our Nevada winter highway,” said Ragonese.
Planning ahead can also include calling the person or place that you will be traveling to to let them know you’ve left, and when you’re estimated to arrive.
“That way, in case you’re not able to call, if you run into trouble on the winter roads, they can also alert the authorities,” said Ragonese.
Additionally, drivers should clear their car of snow completely before leaving the house. This includes on headlights, turn signals, and license plates.
Ragonese said that it’s important to buckle up and reduce speed when driving, along with leaving extra distance between the car in front of you and behind for safer stopping.
“One of the most important things we have to remember is winter is different than deriving during other conditions,” said Ragonese. “It requires to not only be even more attentive, but also drive more slowly.”
With larger banks of snow on the side of roads due to snow plows, there is also a decrease in visibility on the roads in many areas.
Cars should be equipped in the event that you’re stuck in your vehicle for extended period of time in the snow or during a storm.
“The most important is always carry tire chains during winter,” said Ragonese. “You may also want a cell phone for emergency communication only, as well as a snow shovel, flares, jumper cables, and even an extra set of winter clothes, and non-perishable foods just in case you run into any difficulties.”
Other items that would be good for an emergency kit would include a flashlight, an ice scraper, warm blankets, and plenty of water.
Although chains are key in winter travel, Ragonese suggested to carry liter or sand as well to create traction in areas that a car could become stuck or it’s too icy.
“Some of these are basic, but important,” said Ragonese.
A winter Storm Watch was issued by the National Weather Service for Wednesday afternoon to Sunday, Dec. 26, with travel highly advised against once the storm begins.
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