Storms Causes Tricky Driving in Northern Nevada

Winter Weather
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Motorists in parts of northern Nevada from the Sierra to Elko faced icy commutes Monday following a weekend storm that dropped up to 18 inches of snow in the mountains and enough in the valleys to prompt driving controls.

Larry Osterman, a lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Reno, said Northern Nevada residents could expect cloudiness Monday and a chance of precipitation starting late Tuesday accompanied by gusty winds.

"There should be one more pretty good shot of wind and precipitation as a low pressure system moves inland about Wednesday night and will probably linger into Thursday," Osterman said.

Chains or snow tires were required Monday along most of U.S. 93 in the eastern part of the state and on U.S. over Pinto Summit to Eureka and over Antelope Summit.

Interstate-80 also had chain or snow tire requirements intermittently from the Carlin interchange east through Elko to the Starr Valley interchange. Most of the side roads in the area also required chains or snow tires.

In the Sierra, chains or snow tires were required on California 89 south of I-80, on U.S. 50 from the junction with U.S. 395 to the California state line and on Nevada 28 from U.S. 50 to Sand Harbor.

Chains or snow tires also were needed over the Mount Rose summit and on Kingsbury Grade from the Carson Valley floor to Stateline. Extended Web Coverage

A Motorists Guide to Winter Driving

Pre-Trip Planning

  • To minimize the chances of a weather-related delay, plan ahead with safety in mind.

  • Always be sure to check the forecast; if a winter storm is predicted for the area in which you will be driving, think twice, or ask yourself if the trip is necessary.

  • Always have an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small shovel, an ice scraper, antifreeze, blankets; nonperishable food; and a first aid kit.

Starting Your Car

  • Be sure to turn off all accessories (radio, heater, lights etc.) before starting your car. This will maximize your battery's starting power.

  • If your car has a fuel injection system, don't touch the accelerator pedal. For carbureted cars, depress the accelerator once before attempting to start the vehicle. Then, simply turn the key and hold it for a few seconds.

Handling Roadside Emergencies

  • Pull as far off the road as possible. This helps to avoid getting hit by another vehicle.

  • Indicate trouble by opening the hood and turning on the vehicle's emergency flashers. Place a "Call Police" sign in the rear window.

  • Stay in the car. Avoid the temptation of accepting a ride with a stranger. Instead, if someone offers help, ask him or her to notify the police if you do not own a cell phone. Leave only with a marked police car or a state or city emergency vehicle.

  • Don't walk or hitchhike, both of which invite trouble-you could either get caught in a storm, or be forced in a dangerous situation involving strangers.

Driving Tips

  • Always wear seatbelts.

  • Remove ice and snow from windows, license plates and lights. Also be sure to clear snow from the vehicle's hood, roof and trunk.

  • Reduce your speed while driving. The posted speed limits are for dry, clear conditions only.

  • Watch for slick spots under bridges and on overpasses.

  • Keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle's fuel line from freezing.

Source: contributed to this report. Extended Web Coverage

Winterizing Your Car

  • Winter weather conditions can wreak havoc on automobiles, especially if they are in poor condition. Care must be taken to see that all devices and parts are in good working order and that no problems exist that could cause the car to fail to operate properly.

  • Make sure that all belts and hoses are in good working order. Check for cracks in belts and soft areas on hoses. If a problem exists, replace the hose or belt. These parts are very inexpensive.

  • Check battery for corrosion, clean cable ends and check for charging power. Batteries should be replaced if more than four years old.

  • Make sure that all oil and fluid receptacles are full. It is recommended that oil be changed at this time.

  • Change wiper blades, if worn. Sand and dirt deposits ground into old blades can damage windshield glass. Never fill windshield wiper fluid reservoir with water. The proper type fluid is available inexpensively at auto parts stores.

  • Flush the cooling system and replace coolant.

  • If car is due for a tune-up (according to manufacturer's specifications), have this done in advance of the season.

  • Check tire pressure on all tires and make sure that the spare tire is inflated properly. Also make sure that equipment for tire changing is in good repair.

  • Have brakes checked to make sure there are no problems. Add brake fluid as needed.

  • Spray WD-40 on all door and trunk locks to eliminate freezing. This lubricant is available at auto parts outlets as well as hardware stores.

  • Keep a bag of cat litter in the trunk to use for traction on ice or in snow.

  • Keep emergency articles in trunk in case of an accident or getting stranded in bad weather. These should include a small first-aid kit, flashlight, blanket, gloves, ice scraper, small shovel, etc.

  • Make sure that the lights, defroster and heater are in working order. Replace any dead fuses.

Source: contributed to this report.