Be Prepared for Winter Driving Conditions
Contact: Steve Nelson
Phone: (530) 741-4566

MARYSVILLE –  As winter weather approaches, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 3 is preparing for rain and snowstorms throughout the season, including winterizing construction projects, preparing snow removal equipment and mobilizing the necessary personnel to its maintenance yards.
Caltrans encourages motorists to be prepared for winter driving conditions, particularly in the snowy Sierra, with the first big winter storm expected to hit Friday and continue into the weekend. Here are some useful winter driving tips:
  • Check your antifreeze level and make sure it is properly filled and formulated for winter temperatures.
  • Check your tire pressure and tread.
  • Replace the wiper blades and fill the windshield wiper fluid reservoir; be sure to use a winter formula to help de-ice windshields.
  • Carry tire chains that are the correct size for your tires, in good working order and practice installing the chains before needing to use them. 
  • Have a full tank of fuel before traveling.
  • Have blankets, extra clothing, food and water, towels, a shovel, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small bag of sand or kitty litter and road flares. 
  • When traveling with children, carry small activity packs for them to help prevent driver distractions.
  • Have a fully charged cell phone before leaving and carry a car charger.
  • Reduce speeds during winter weather and allow for additional stopping time. Turn on headlights to see and be seen. Turn off cruise control.     Avoid quick starts, stops and fast turns. Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly and gradually.
  •  Keep additional distance from other vehicles.
  •  Watch carefully for snow removal equipment and don’t crowd the plow. Only pass snow removal vehicles when a safe, legal passing area is available and sight distance is good.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas; they may freeze first.
  •  If your vehicle begins to skid, steer in the direction of slide and slowly remove your foot from accelerator. 

  • Check out Caltrans' “Quick Map” for current road conditions and chain requirements at A mobile version is also available.
  • Motorists also can use the California Highway Information Network automated phone service by calling 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).
  • Motorists can see real-time conditions before they hit the road by using our map of traffic cameras in the Sacramento Valley, up Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50 and around the Tahoe Basin.
  • For Interstate 80 and Highway 50 updates, follow Caltrans District 3 on Twitter and Facebook to receive the latest information about current roadway conditions.
  • For forecast information, visit the National Weather Service website.
  • Understand that winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly and allow for extra travel time.
  • Make sure you share the route you intend to take with friends or family.
To see all of these tips in more detail, visit our Winter Driving Tips webpage.