Wet and winter weather are coming, so it's time to be ready.

CalTrans advises motorists to prepare for wet weather, winter driving

With wet weather fast approaching, Caltrans District 2 reminds motorists to be prepared for rain and winter weather conditions. Here are some things drivers can do to help stay safe on the roadways.

Before you leave home

  • Check your brakes, battery, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, headlights, and exhaust system to make sure they are in good, working condition.
  • Check your tire pressure when tires are cold. If the tread on your tires is low, it may be time to get new tires.
  • Pack chains, a small ice scraper and shovel, flashlight, warm blankets, water, non-perishable food items, and a cell phone.
  • Make sure you have a full tank of gas and carry a spare key for your vehicle.
  • Check roadway conditions with QuickMap so you can “Know Before You Go.” Motorists can use QuickMap by free app for smartphones and can now opt-in for push notifications for highway closures and areas of chain control as travelers approach these areas.

Other resources include

On the road

  • Follow the instructions from Caltrans and California Highway Patrol personnel and stay alert in chain control areas and around crews working. These men and women spend long hours on our highways during winter months to help keep roadways open and as safe as possible for the traveling public.
  • When traveling on routes through canyons or other steep areas, watch for debris that may be dislodged onto the roadway via high winds, rain, or snow. Be cognizant when traveling through burn scar areas.
  • Be wary of using non-highway alternative routes during highway closures. These routes may not be maintained or open during winter weather events and may have size restrictions for larger vehicles. Contact local city or county agencies for status or restrictions on non-highway routes.
  • Slow down on wet pavement. According to AAA, with as little as 1/12 inch of water on the road, tires must displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the asphalt.
  • Drive for conditions. Slow down when visibility is poor and leave yourself extra room for stopping in wet conditions.
  • Leave proper distance and drive carefully around emergency personnel and snow removal equipment. Slow down when you see the amber lights and never pass a snowplow unless directed.
  • Make sure your headlights are on when it’s raining. This became a law in California in 2005. Fines can go up to $150.

Let permitted installers help you with chains

  • Those permitted by Caltrans must display a sign advising drivers in advance of their fee.
  • Permitted installers must wear a vest with their vendor number on it.
  • Installers cannot sell or rent chains to drivers.
  • Installers must provide a receipt when asked for one.
  • Call the California Highway Patrol if any issues arise regarding chain installations.

Road conditions can change very quickly. Highways that may have been open when you left home may have chain restrictions or may have closed while you are traveling. Pay close attention to information on changeable message signs along highways. Caltrans will activate the Highway Advisory Radio system when major highway changes occur.

When you see flashing beacons on advisory signs please tune to:

  • 1610 AM (Shasta, Tehama, Siskiyou, Lassen, Plumas, and Trinity counties).
  • 97.9 FM (Modoc County).
  • 1580 AM (Butte County – Highways 70 and 191).

Additional information and resources