Driving in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the winter can be a beautiful and exhilarating experience, but it also requires extra care and attention. The snow-covered roads and icy conditions can make for hazardous driving, and it’s important to be prepared before hitting the road. We want you to make it to Dorrington safe and sound!
Chains and vehicle safety
First and foremost, make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving. This includes having good tires with enough tread depth and proper inflation, as well as making sure your brakes, headlights, and windshield wipers are in good working condition. It’s also a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car, including items such as blankets, a flashlight, ice scraper, and possibly a shovel.
When driving on snowy or icy roads, it’s important to slow down and take your time. Remember that braking and turning will take longer on slippery surfaces, so give yourself extra space between you and the car in front of you. Also, use a lower gear when going downhill to avoid having to brake excessively and possibly lose control of your vehicle.
While it is generally easier to get to Dorrington than Lake Tahoe, there may be chain control areas on Highway 4 once you reach Arnold. Make sure to check the chain control requirements for Highway 4 before leaving. If you’re not familiar with how to put chains on your tires, practice before your trip. We strongly recommend a 4-wheel drive vehicle when coming up during snow season.
Check the local weather forecast before leaving for your trip. If a winter storm is predicted, it may be best to wait until the roads are cleared before hitting the road. If you must travel during a storm, make sure to check the latest road conditions and follow any advice or warnings from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) or other local authorities.
Finally, make sure to take breaks and stay alert while driving. We usually stop at the gas station/convenience store in Farmington to break up the trip. If you feel tired, pull over and take a break. It’s better to arrive late than not at all.
In conclusion, driving in the mountains during the winter can be a beautiful and exhilarating experience, but it also requires extra care and attention. By preparing your vehicle, taking your time, staying aware of the weather and road conditions, and being aware of the risks of chain control areas and avalanches, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Remember, safety should always be your top priority.