Ask Tessie: What are your tips for driving in the mountains? |

Ask Tessie: What are your tips for driving in the mountains?

Ask Tessie
Tahoe Tessie

Dear Tessie,

I’ve lived in Tahoe for 30 years, and this winter has been especially painful because of all the flatlanders who clearly don’t know how to drive in the mountains. It’s making me a little crazy. Can you please explain to people how not to drive like a total idiot?


Road Enraged Local

I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity offender, so before I lay into the idiotic drivers who have no business operating a motor vehicle in the mountains, I will take you down a peg or two.

There is this thing in Lake Tahoe that people do where they preface any opinion with how many years they have lived here as a means of, I’m assuming, adding clout to their statement. Guess what? I don’t care if you’ve lived here 30 years or 30 days — you don’t deserve more respect one way or the other. (And the crowd goes wild!)

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’d like to outline five rules of mountain driving that I wish everyone would abide by.

If you are afraid of going the actual speed limit when the roads are clear, and you see a lineup of 10 vehicles in the rear-view mirror, for the love of whatever deity you praise, pull your Prius over at the next turnout and let people pass. It’s the right thing to do.

Also, there are these things called passing lanes — you know, those extra bonus lanes that pop up from time to time to allow people who don’t drive like a 90-year-old grandpa to get around the slowpokes. When one opens up, that is not the time to decide you’re the next big thing in NASCAR just because you’re temporarily no longer on a skinny mountain road, especially given the fact that the person behind you has been tailing so hard he can probably itemize all the crap you’ve been meaning to clean out of your trunk.

Now, this one is for you, dude in the souped-up Chevy Silverado. Just because you threw down a ton of coin on a sick 10-inch lift with tires big enough to have their own moon, it doesn’t mean you are invincible. Turn down the Nickelback, slow down and stop scaring the bejesus out of other drivers. You just contribute to the problem by creating Maverick-sized snow waves that splash all over windshields causing limited vision. (Unless it splashes on that 20-mph Prius. Then it’s OK.)

I really hate that I have to say this, but guys, a narrow shoulder of the road or in fact the right-hand lane of the road is not the best place to put on your chains. Leaving out the fact that it makes a person want to roll down the window and pelt you with a slurpee, it’s dangerous. Like actually really dangerous.

To quote one wise, tiny green Jedi master, “Patience you must have, my young Padawan.” Yeah, it sucks that there are people out driving who are a few fries short of a Happy Meal, but you can’t control that.

You can only control how you react to it. I’ve been told that stress is the silent killer, so put on some smooth jazz, look out at the friggin’ beautiful place where we live, and chill out. You’ll get where you’re going eventually.

Did I miss anything? Probably. So write in and tell me about it, and maybe if you can string a few coherent sentences together, I’ll publish them. Maybe.

Tahoe Tessie is a humorous take on the standard advice column. It is produced by the Tribune staff, and it is not meant to be taken literally. Have a question you want to ask Tessie? Send it to

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