Caltrans: Safety Tips for Winter Driving

Caltrans Offers Safety Tips for Winter Driving

SACRAMENTO  —  Caltrans urges motorists to be prepared and use caution when driving this winter. Taking action and being proactive can help reduce the risk of injury and even death on the highways during the upcoming storm. Operators of vehicles must use their best judgment in all types of weather.

Before traveling, Caltrans recommends checking weather and road conditions. Caltrans QuickMap is an online resource with real-time traffic flow information, chain control alerts, and closure information. It is available at or as a Google and Apple app. Motorists can also call 511 or the Caltrans Highway Information Network at 1-800-427-7623 for travel information. Live traffic cameras can also be useful to check conditions before traveling and are available at

Winter driving tips:

  • Reduce your speed to match driving conditions and allow more time to reach your destination. Know that bridges and ramps may be more slippery than the roadway.

  • Keep your fuel tank full. Bad weather may cause long delays or closures.

  • Turn on your headlights to see and be seen. Be observant and maintain a safe distance behind snow removal equipment. Do not pass snow plows unless directed to do so.

  • When driving in fog, reduce your speed and use headlights on low-beam along with fog lights. Stay to the right along the white edge line and never stop in the road. If visibility is not adequate, pull off of the roadway when safe to do so.

  • Do not drive through flooded areas. Safely turn around and find another route.

  • If you start sliding on snow or ice, slowly take your foot off the gas pedal and steer in the direction you wish to travel. Do not lock your brakes. Pump the brakes if needed, or apply steady pressure if your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes.

  • Don’t use cruise control.

  • Avoid in-car distractions while driving.

  • If you are stalled, activate your hazard signals and stay with your vehicle. Conserve fuel by periodically turning your engine on and off while maintaining warmth, but be aware of possible exhaust and carbon monoxide issues.

  • If you approach an emergency, maintenance, or any other vehicle stopped on the side of the road, move over when safe to do so or slow down.

 Be prepared. The following actions can help prevent vehicle failures and help if you become stranded:

  • Winterize your vehicle. Make sure your brakes, windshield wipers, heater/defroster, and exhaust system are in good working order. Make sure fluids are topped-off, especially windshield washer fluid.

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated and always carry tire chains.

  • Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle with the following items: flashlight, blankets, extra clothing, water, snacks, towel, gloves, ice scraper, shovel, broom, sand, and carry a spare key on your person in case you lock yourself out of your vehicle.

 All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive or snow tires, should carry chains when traveling in snowy weather. Highway signs and QuickMap will indicate when chains are required, and drivers must stop and install chains. Motorists should pull off the roadway completely to install chains. If you need help, chain installers may be available to assist for a fee. Please note, chain installers are not Caltrans employees. They are independent business people who are licensed to install chains. Once chains are installed, obey the speed limit of 25 or 30 miles per hour, posted at various locations.

 Chain Control Information:

  • R-1: Chains, traction devices or snow tires with proper tread depth of 6/32” are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles.

  • R-2: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels. (NOTE: Four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)

  • R-3: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions. (NOTE: R-1 and R-2 are the most common chain controls. The highway will usually be closed before an R-3 control is imposed).

For more information on winter driving, chain controls, and additional resources, visit Caltrans’ “Weathering the Storm” winter driving tips brochure is available at


Inyo County: Spelling Bee Competition

The 43 rd annual Inyo County Spelling Bee Competition will be held on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at the Jill Kinmont Boothe School in Bishop. Students from all school districts in Inyo County are eligible to participate in the competition. First, each school holds their own Spelling Bee where the top 5 students are selected to compete in the Inyo County Spelling Bee.

The Spelling Bee competition will first begin with a written Preliminary Competition where students will compete in a writing exercise until 15-18 finalists remain. The public is welcome to join the Elementary/Middle School Championship Competition beginning at 6:00pm. Trophies and monetary scholarships will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners, courtesy of Altrusa.

The top two 4-6 th grade elementary and top two 7-9 th grade middle school spellers qualify to participate in the Elementary and Junior High State Spelling Championship competitions in May. The public is encouraged to attend the county Spelling Bee Competition beginning at 6:00pm at Jill Kinmont Boothe School in the Great Room. For more information, please contact Mini Doonan at (760) 873-3262 ext. 2106.


Missoula Children's Theatre: Attention Bishop Youth

Dramatic Opportunity for Bishop Youth

The Missoula Children's Theatre is coming back to Bishop! Children from Kindergarten through 8th Grade are invited to audition for a role in the production of The Frog Prince. Auditions take place Monday, January 21st (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) at 3 PM at the Home Street Middle School Multipurpose Building.

Auditions last from 3 to 5 PM, no advance preparation is needed. Children who audition are not guaranteed a role, but there are approximately 50-60 roles available. Some castmembers will be asked to stay for a rehearsal immediately following the audition. All castmembers are asked to attend rehearsals daily from Tuesday, January 22 to Friday, January 25 in preparation for two performances on Saturday, January 26th.

Auditions and participation in the Missoula Children's Theatre production of The Frog Prince are completely free, due to a generous grant from the Donald M. Slager Sunset Foundation. All students, grades Kindergarten through 8th grade, from any school are encouraged to audition.

For more information please contact Emilee Norcross at (760) 920-0025


ESLT: Open House

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Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) Open House

Happy New Year! Please join ESLT for an informal gathering to meet and mingle with our board, staff, conservation partners and supporters as we lift our glasses to celebrate the New Year. Help us welcome our new Education Coordinator and AmeriCorps member, Marie, and our new Communications Coordinator, Kristen. We look forward to seeing you.

When: Wednesday, Jan. 23 (5:00 – 6:30pm)
ESLT Office at 250 N. Fowler Street, Bishop from 5:00-6:30pm.
RSVP’s not needed, but they are helpful for planning - RSVP to or call (760) 873 – 4554.

Caltrans: Travel Advisory

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 EASTERN KERN, INYO AND MONO COUNTIES — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) would like to notify the public of chain controls and road closures while traveling throughout the area.

The National Weather Service is predicting this week’s storm will have strong travel impacts tomorrow and Thursday. Stay informed of current roadway issues by visiting the Caltrans QuickMap site or call the Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).

Caltrans reminds drivers to carry the proper size chains and to be prepared for winter driving conditions. Keep your gas tank as full as possible for your trip, carry blankets, water, food, a shovel, gloves, a flashlight, and sand or kitty litter to provide traction in case your vehicle becomes stuck. Drastically slow down (35 mph in areas under chain control) and proceed with caution. Do not pass snow removal equipment on the right. Remove excess snow and ice from your vehicle’s roof before driving. Be mindful of pedestrians adding or removing chains on the side of the road. Inattentiveness on the road can have tragic consequences.

Current Chain Controls (see Chain Requirements below);

  • U.S. Hwy 395     

    • R-1 controls from 1 mile north of the junction at SR 203 (Mammoth Lakes) to 8 miles south of Bridgeport

  • State Route 203

    • R-1 controls from 2.5 miles west of the junction at U.S. Hwy 395 to Mammoth Mountain Inn

  • State Route 168W

    • R-1 controls from Aspendell to 12 miles west of Bishop

  • State Route 168E

    • CLOSED from Big Pine to the junction at SR 266

  • State Route 167

    • R-1 controls from the junction at U.S. Hwy 395 to the Nevada State Line

  • State Route 158S

    • R-1 controls from the south junction at U.S. Hwy 395 to 3.5 miles north of the June Lake Village

The following passes/routes currently remain closed for the winter;

  • State Route 120W (Tioga Pass)

  • State Route 120E (Mono Mills Road)

  • State Route 108 (Sonora Pass)

  • State Route 89 (Monitor Pass)

  • State Route 168 W (Bishop Creek) W/B at Aspendell

  • State Route 158N (North June Lake Loop) The town and ski resort in June Lake are accessible from State Route 158S

  • State Route 203 (Red’s Meadow) The town and ski resort in Mammoth Lakes remain accessible through the winter from U.S. Hwy 395 via SR-203

Pass currently closed, subject to reopen based on conditions;

  • State Route 168E (Westgard Pass) from Big Pine to the junction at SR 266

  • State Route 270 (Bodie Road) at the junction with U.S. Hwy 395

Chain Requirements

· R1: Chains are required - snow tread tires allowed- M & S on the side of the tire

·  R2: Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel drive vehicles with snow tires on all four wheels.

· R3: Chains are required - all vehicles - no exceptions.

· R1 and R2 are the most common conditions. The highway is usually closed before an R3 condition is imposed.

Before, during and after storms, Caltrans, along with other agencies, is out on the roads, working to keep the traveling public safe. Remember to be work zone alert and safely move over a lane or slow down when you observe flashing amber lights on Caltrans or other emergency vehicles.

Visit for more winter driving tips to keep you, your family and others safe.

For the latest California highway information please visit the Caltrans QuickMap site at or call the Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).

In Nevada, road conditions toll free number,1-877-687-6237 (1-877-NVROADS)