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NHP says be prepared for the coming storm

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 3:56 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “We’ve had a total of up to this point 12 crashes to include injury crashes, property damage crashes, and spinoffs. We’ve had 22 motorists assists,” says NHP Trooper Charles Caster as he lists the accidents and other problems his agency responded to on local roadways and highways this morning. All due he says to the snowy weather.

Perhaps the most baffling is the story of one car he stopped near the Mt. Rose Highway this morning.

“The back of this car was covered, the side was covered the sideview mirrors were covered,” he says. “She was late to work. She just decided to drive like that. I was driving with my flashing lights. I had to use audibles for her so she would know finally I was behind her,” he says.

It seems like an obvious “don’t” while driving in a snowstorm.

Caster says a vehicle’s entire outside body, windshield, and mirrors should be free of snow and ice before heading out on the road during a snowstorm.

He says drivers should have a good set of tires---not necessarily snow tires, but they should have tread he says. Antifreeze, as well as a full reservoir of windshield wiper fluid.

“Having good working windshield wipers,” says Trooper Caster. “We have very dry air where we live so, our wipers get dried out and cracked and they aren’t as affective when we need them,” he says.

Trooper Caster took us up the Mt Rose Highway to see what conditions could look like even down on the valley floor.

There were chain controls posted, and at first that seemed liked overkill. But as we headed further up to the summit, the conditions got more slushy or icy.

Once up at the Mt. Rose Summit--sunny conditions. But the Trooper says by tonight when temperatures go below freezing this roadway will be a different story.

“When the roadways are slick, it’s going to take that much longer to stop,” he says.

On the way back down the hill, fog on the roadway. Even if a driver thinks he knows the twists and turns of State Route 431--it all seems to change when there’s only 50 feet of visibility. Some drivers in the opposite lane of traffic only had their running lights on---some, no lights at all. Those vehicles were tough to see.

Trooper Caster says in big snow events it could take hours or even more than a day to rescue a car from an embankment or just the side of the road. That’s why extra clothing, food, and water should be easily accessible in your car.

If drivers can only remember three things when driving in snowy conditions, Trooper Caster says leave early, leave enough space between cars and slow down.

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