Caltrans, CHP offers advice to travelers stuck in winter storm downturns

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PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – With every snowstorm in the Sierra, thousands of people brave the conditions as they seek to climb the mountain for fresh powder.

All too often though, they can spend hours or even days trapped by Mother Nature, which happened two weeks ago when parts of Highway 50 and Interstate 80 were forced to close.

For nearly two hours traffic crawled and at times came to a standstill on the eastbound I-80 in the Sierra with cars full of people desperate to get out of their vehicles, and this situation unfolded over several days of continued recently.

The slowdown was caused by teams from Caltrans who closed the highway due to whiteout conditions and vehicle accidents.

Caltrans officials advise travelers to prepare.

“You’re going to have to wait, and it can sometimes take several hours,” Caltrans spokeswoman Raquel Borrayo said. “Do you recommend having snacks in your car, water, blankets because you never know what might happen. “

Before getting stuck in winter traffic, travelers are advised to have wiper fluid designed for all seasons, which will help them in very cold weather.

And since the heater will be used to keep travelers warm during slow traffic, it is recommended that drivers make sure the vehicle has enough gasoline.

California Highway Patrol officials said using alternate routes during a winter storm to avoid traffic could make the situation worse.

“And if it’s closed and your GPS is telling you to take a side road, that might be a bad idea,” CHP Officer Clayton Nett said.

While often useful, calling card apps won’t know much about the road conditions on a side street or a suspected shortcut. And those roads aren’t a priority for the plows, which means what would have been an hour of waiting can turn into trapping much, much longer.

“The tow trucks in this area are unable to reach you and get your vehicle out, so you could be stranded there for a few days,” Nett warned.

Kingvale snowboarder and resident Brian Bozack has lived in the area for years.

“You see cars, then you see cars without chains, and cars that don’t know they’re on that road, it creates havoc,” Bozack told FOX40.

During the last major snowstorm, Bozack said people trying to trick the system when I-80 shut down turned to his neighborhood and Donner Pass Road, which some say has taken a toll on his neighborhood and Donner Pass Road. serious consequences.

“We had two cars abandoned on this road overnight, they stayed there for a few nights and people had to find shelter elsewhere,” Bozack recalls.

Winter travelers are advised to stay on main roads in stormy weather and always be prepared for anything or when they know a big storm is coming, Caltrans offers additional advice.

“It’s probably not a good idea to travel,” Borrayo said.

Caltrans also offers its QuickMap app which provides real-time insight into road closures and weather conditions so travelers can plan ahead.

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