Caltrans Offers Winter Driving Tips

Caltrans logoWith this very large winter storm two days ago, Caltrans has some helpful information for winter driving. District 8 maintenance crews were ready for what turned out to be a big storm but their question to most drivers is…..”Were You?”

With this storm in mind Caltrans has tips and information that could help keep drivers and their passengers safe while on slippery or snowy highways.

* Never pass snow plows or Caltrans equipment if inclement weather dictates their use. The drivers have limited visibility during inclement weather and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind. Give them room……at least 200 feet!

* Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

* Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

* Turn on your headlights, not your fog lights, to increase your visibility to other motorists.

* Keep your lights and windshields clean. Replace your windshield wipers if needed.

* Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

* Do not use cruise control or overdrive.

* Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridge.

* Remember, “black ice” is nearly invisible.

* Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

* Pack a winter safety kit. Include blankets or sleeping bags, water, food, a change of clothes and warm clothing, candles, matches, clay based kitty litter (for traction), an ice scraper, a radio and batteries and a rope. Pack extra medication and store the kit so it is reachable.

* Stay with your vehicle and wait for help if you get stuck.

* Slow down. Don’t challenge Mother Nature. Visit the website at and sign up for weather and traffic information by logging onto: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hg/road info/. You can also call (800) 427-ROAD (8723).

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