Winter driving tips for navigating Lake Tahoe roads
Winter driving has been an adventure at Lake Tahoe so far this winter.
It’s still pretty early in the season and Ski Run Blvd on the South Shore has turned into a car slide zone with just a little bit of snow or ice.
With more storms likely in the next few months, it’s important to freshen up on tips for driving in inclement weather.
Many accidents in the winter can be easily avoided if motorists would get rid of their lead feet.
“The most critical thing to remember is that winter driving can be fundamentally different from driving in dry conditions,” said Nevada Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Meg Ragonese.
According to Caltrans District 3 spokesperson Steve Nelson, most accidents in bad weather are caused by, “motorists driving too fast for the conditions or driving vehicles not properly equipped for snow.”
Caltrans’ website recommends driving slower than the 65 miles per hour highway speed, stating that driving that speed is, “an invitation for trouble on snow and ice.”
It also recommends leaving extra distance when following another vehicle. Not only should extra space be allowed, Caltrans also reminds drivers to give snow plows plenty of room.
“As winter settles in, Californians will start to see a whole new set of extreme conditions,” said Caltrans’ Director Toks Omishakin in a press release. “Please take care out there on the roads, don’t crowd the plows, have patience, give yourself more travel time, and know that we’re hard at work to clear whatever may be standing in your way.”
Four car lengths between are recommended between vehicles and snow plows and snow removal equipment.
In addition, try not to make sudden stops or make quick direction changes.
“In winter, snowy, icy or wet roads can reduce traction and stopping distance,” Ragonese said. “That means it is important to give yourself extra travel time and drive slowly.”
Before driving, NDOT’s website says, “remove snow and ice from all vehicle windows, mirrors, lights, turn signals and license plates.”
Once on the road, NDOT said to share your itinerary and let others know when you might arrive and don’t rely solely on GPS devices to find alternate routes, since side roads might not be maintained.
If you start skidding, don’t freak out. Steer in the direction of the slide and slowly let off the accelerator.
One thing both Caltrans and NDOT emphasize is to be patient.
For a complete list of NDOT’s recommendations, visit http://www.nevadadot.com/Home/Components/News/News/4862/395.
For a complete list of Caltrans’ recommendations, visit dot.ca.gov/travel/winter-driving-tips.