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CHP Officer Pete Mann of the Truckee office said that minutes before this driver crashed on a Tahoe road he had warned the man about being easy on the gas and brakes while driving in the snow. The driver told Mann he slid off the road after braking too hard. Photo by Officer Mann

Going to Tahoe? Or elsewhere to the snow?

Then here’s some safety tips from CHP Officer Pete Mann of the Truckee office to help you avoid ending up like the driver in the photo:

1. Give yourself plenty of time. Don’t rush when you’re driving on snow or ice. Conditions can change suddenly in the Sierra during winter, turning a three-hour trip to 10 hours.

“Plan for the unexpected,” Mann says.

2.If you haven’t put on chains before or not on the vehicle you’re using, practice at home where it’s warmer and you’re not dealing with snow and ice.

3. Bring extra clothing, water, food — “something like Cliff Bars will give you energy” — and appropriate footwear.

“I’ve seen people putting on chains in their flip-flops,” Mann says.

When driving on snowy or icy roads, he says drivers need to go easy on the gas to avoid spinning and easy on the brakes to avoid sliding and not make hard, jerky steering moves.

For chains, Mann says drivers are required to carry them when driving in winterized areas, regardless of the weather.

There are three types of chain-control declarations issued by Caltrans:

–R1: Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles, except 4-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles.

–R2: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, except 4-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires (marked on sidewalls as M/S, M+S or such) on all four wheels.

–R3: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.

Mann says R3 declarations basically don’t happen because by the time road conditions become that bad, the highways have been closed for hours.

The speed limit when using chains is 30 mph on Interstate 80 and 25 mph on Highway 50 and other roads, he says.

Mann says the CHP office in Truckee prepares its officers for winter driving by borrowing a large, snow-covered parking lot and sending the officers through various driving challenges to get used to driving on snow and ice.

Most officers carry extra food and water for themselves and in case they come across stranded motorists, he says.

For those going to Tahoe, Mann says residents up there have a request: If you’re driving slow and more than five vehicles are following you, pull over when safe to let them pass.

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Comments

3 Comments

  1. Kark

    The speed limit when using chains is 30 mph on Interstate 80 and 25 mph on Highway 50 and other roads, he says.

    You might be doing 25-30 but the jerk in the SUV is going 50 past you, until he ends up in a ditch down the road… seen it many times.

    January 9th, 2013 9:52 am

  2. Jeremy Nichols

    Tires marked “M+S” (Mud and Snow) are not true snow tires; they are compromise “all season” tires and as such are equally poor in all conditions. True snow tires (those carrying a symbol of a snowflake inside a mountain) not only have a very aggressive tread but also a soft rubber compound that remains soft even at low temperatures.

    The real problem is that the typical Californian, like the truck driver in your article, has no idea how to drive in snow and ice. They are their own worst enemy.

    January 9th, 2013 12:18 pm

  3. Bob

    This is why they have turnouts–use them if your not use to the conditions or the road

    January 9th, 2013 1:58 pm

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