If you’re traveling to Big Bear over the winter season, make sure your vehicle is ready for the weather. You’ll want to check the conditions before you leave and allow plenty of extra time to get to your destination. Traffic may be very slow during inclement weather. Here are some winter driving tips from a Los Angeles traffic lawyer to avoid accidents and citations.
Prep Your Vehicle
Although Caltrans maintenance crews diligently work to keep roadways clear, you should be prepared for problems when you’re driving in winter. You’ll need to be patient if you’re behind a crew. Know where to check for road conditions on your route. You will need chains. You may not be required to have chains when you leave, but if conditions get worse, you’ll need to be prepared. Practice putting chains on your car to be able to put them on quickly when required. Here are some other preparations you may want to take:
- Make sure your car is well-maintained.
- Check the tire tread and inflation before getting on the road.
- Have emergency supplies, such as blankets, food, water and backup charger for your cell phone.
When Driving in Wintry Conditions
Driving in snowy or icy conditions is much different than other types of weather. Make sure your windows are cleared off before you get in the car. You’ll want to use your low beams when driving in fog or snowstorms. Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you. Stopping on ice takes more room than normal. Three car lengths or more is recommended. Don’t brake suddenly on slick streets. Tap the brakes lightly to slow down. Keep slowing down until you can safely stop. Remember that the posted speed limit may be too fast for the conditions. If you do go too fast, you can be ticketed. Contact a lawyer for speeding ticket if you are cited.
Be aware of your conditions. Know what to do if you go into a skid. You shouldn’t break but do remove your foot from the accelerator. Steer in the direction you want your wheels to go. If you keep skidding, counter-steer to get your vehicle going in the right direction. Sudden changes, like accelerating and decelerating, cause you to skid, so try to keep a steady speed. Reduce your speed into a turn.
When Chains Are Required
If you do need to install chains when you’re at Big Bear, find a safe place to turn off the road and put the chains on. Don’t stop in the middle of the road. Make sure you install your chains correctly, on the drive tires. If you rent a car, make sure to get chains before you drive up in the mountains. Don’t rely on the rental company to provide chains. Although mechanics can install chains, during bad weather, you may not be able to get to a mechanic to get the chains on. Again, don’t rely on finding a mechanic to help you. Studded tires are no replacement for chains. Contact a traffic lawyer if you have an accident or get a ticket when driving during inclement weather.