What You Need To Know About Driving In Snowy, Icy And Wet Conditions In The Lake Arrowhead Mountain Communities
Check The Weather First
Driving in the winter terrain can be challenging. Before you drive up the mountain, check the weather conditions. “Weather Underground” website for the Lake Arrowhead Mountain Communities is a great source when travelling here. Note that snow in the daytime melting in the sun leads to dangerous icy roads and “black ice” when temperatures drop, especially at night. Mountain weather can change dramatically on very short notice.
Check Caltrans For Road Conditions & Traffic Reports
The California Highway Patrol urges you to check road conditions often. The best way to do this is to call the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Road Conditions Hotline: 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) or visit Caltrans Road Information for current road conditions and closures. On the website enter the highway you will be traveling on. Caltrans maintenance crews work continuously day and night using de-icing agents to keep the roadways clear for travelers. Please be patient and courteous while Caltrans crews work to keep the roads clear.
Check Your Vehicle
Make sure your vehicle’s brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, and exhaust systems are in top working condition. Check your antifreeze and prepare for colder temperatures. Make sure your tires have good tread and are properly inflated. Carry a windshield scraper, a broom for brushing snow off your car, a shovel to free your car if it gets stuck in the snow, a flashlight, and sand or burlap for traction if your wheels get stuck in snow. Keep your gas tank full in case of traffic delays or unexpected route diversions.
Take Snow Chains With You
Carry chains in snowy conditions and pay attention to road signs saying if you need chains. Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol can prohibit any vehicle from entering a chain-control area when it’s determined that the traction devices are inadequate for conditions. The CHP can also restrict any vehicles – with or without chains – due to dangerous local weather conditions. Make sure your chains are the right size for your vehicle. Snow chains can be purchased at retail department stores, sporting goods, and auto parts stores. Click here to read more about snow chain requirements and chain controls.
Winter & Wet Driving Tips
Caltrans, California Highway Patrol (CHP), U.S. Forest Service, San Bernardino County Sheriff, and San Bernardino County Fire Department have compiled winter driving tips for motorists who plan to travel to the mountains during the winter season:
- Keep three car lengths away from the vehicle in front of you. The distance needed to stop on ice is twice as long as you would need to brake.
- Keep your headlights on at all times, if it’s raining or snowing keep your wipers on, too.
- Never brake suddenly while driving on ice, use brakes lightly.
- If you go into a skid, special maneuvering is required. In a Front-Wheel-Drive, when your car begins to slide, slowly remove your foot from the accelerator, until you feel your wheels regain traction do not brake! As your tires grab the road, slowly turn the steering wheel in the direction you want your front wheels to go. In a Rear-Wheel-Drive vehicle, when you start to spin, remove your foot from the gas pedal and slowly steer in the direction you want the car to go. If you are still skidding, counter-steer until your vehicle is pointing in the right direction. Never apply steady pressure to the brakes.
- Reduce your speed before you approach a turn. Avoid sudden acceleration or deceleration. Travel gently, meaning move slowly, turn slowly, and brake slowly. Sudden changes can cause a skid.
- Be especially aware of your surroundings, including other drivers that may be losing control on the roadway. The posted speed limit may be 45-mph, however, that does not mean 45-mph is a safe speed for the conditions.
- When driving uphill, pick a path that will allow the most traction.
- Carry emergency supplies, including food, water, warm clothing, blankets, medication, diapers, and a cell phone.
- Caltrans maintenance crews work continuously day and night using de-icing agents to keep the roadways clear for travelers. Please be patient and courteous while Caltrans crews work to keep the roads clear.