10 tips for safely navigating snowy roads at Lake Tahoe

With winter storms bringing much needed snow to the Tahoe Basin, officials are advising motorists in South Lake Tahoe to take their time on the roads. Photo: Ryan Hoffman

With winter upon us and recent storms bringing snow to the Tahoe Basin, it’s important to remember the dangers of navigating the region’s slippery slopes.

Don’t be that driver with just a tiny portion of defrosted glass. Scrape all the windows from front to back. And for goodness sake, do NOT be that person flying around with a 2 feet of snow still clinging tot he top of your car, ready to fly off at any sudden stop.

And while you’re at it, read though this list of 10 important items to check before driving snowy roads. It could save you time, money or even your life:

1. BRAKE IT DOWN

Make sure your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater and exhaust system are in top condition.

2. FLUID FRUITION

Check your antifreeze and be ready for colder temperatures.

3. VIEW AND BLUE

You may need to add concentrated windshield washer fluid to the windshield washer fluid reservoir to prevent an icy windshield.

Truckee-Tahoe’s main highways, such as Interstate 80, seen here, can become very difficult to navigate during and after snowstorms. Photo: Kevin MacMillan

4. CHECK YOUR TIRES

Make sure they are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition.

5. ALWAYS CARRY CHAINS

Make sure they are the proper size for your tires and are in working order. You might want to take along a flashlight, chain repair links and gloves. Chains must be installed on the drive wheels. Make sure you know if your vehicle is front or rear-wheel drive.

6. BE PREPARED

Other suggested items to carry in your car are an ice scraper or commercial de-icer, a broom for brushing snow off your car, a shovel to free your car if it is “snowed in”, sand or burlap for traction if your wheels should become mired in snow and an old towel to clean your hands.

The snow can get super deep in the Tahoe Donner community above Truckee. Tahoe Magazine photo

7. YOU NEVER KNOW

It is also a good idea to take along water, food, warm blankets and extra clothing. A lengthy delay will make you glad you have them.

8. MAP IT OUT

Weather conditions may warrant detouring traffic from the main roadway. It is strongly suggested that drivers always keep an updated map containing the areas of travel.

Taking time to clear off your car after a snowstorm is important. Photo: Kevin MacMillan

9. APPS FOR THAT

If you have a mobile phone, pre-load the Caltrans or NDOT phone numbers for convenient, updated road conditions, or download their app.

10. EXTRA, EXTRA

Put an extra car key in your pocket. A number of motorists have locked themselves out of their cars when putting on chains and at ski areas.

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