Snow, ice, and extreme cold can make driving treacherous. These safety tips from CDC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the National Safety Council can help make winter car travel safer.
Before winter arrives, have your car tuned up, check the level of antifreeze, make sure the battery is good, and check your tire tread or put on snow tires.
Ensure that you have tire chains that fit your vehicle. During winter, chain control is often in effect on Hwy 4. This is true even for 4 wheel drive vehicles. If you have a 4 wheel drive, you may not be required to put your chains on, but you are required to have them. Before driving in winter conditions, practice putting your chains on several times in your driveway where it is nice and warm.
Keep emergency gear in your car for everyday trips:
- cell phone (although service is not usually available in the Bear Valley area)
- jumper cables
- sand or kitty litter (for traction)
- ice scraper, snow brush, and small shovel
- warning devices (e.g., flares, reflectors)
For long car trips, keep food, water, extra blankets, and required medication on hand.
Avoid driving in snow or ice storms. If you must travel in bad weather, drive slowly. Let someone know what route you’re taking and when you plan to arrive so they can alert authorities if you don’t get there.
If your car is parked outside, make sure the exhaust pipe and the area around it are free of snow before you start the car. Snow packed in or around the exhaust pipe can cause high levels of carbon monoxide in the car.
Don’t sit in a parked car with the engine running unless a window is open. Do not let your car run while parked in a garage.
If your car stalls or gets stuck in snow, light two flares and place one at each end of the car, a safe distance away. Make sure snow has not blocked the exhaust pipe. Then stay in your vehicle and open a window slightly to let in fresh air. Wrap yourself in blankets and run your vehicle’s heater for a few minutes every hour to keep warm.