Truckee driving can be a challenge in the Winter Time! During the four years that we lived in Truckee, I considered it a good day, if I did not see an accident on my way to or from work. In a lot of cases, the cars were SUV's which I thought was interesting.
The video below is one of the funniest video's that I have seen and so describes what it is like trying to drive in Truckee in the Winter! You MUST watch this!!!
During my first winter in Truckee, the first snowfall of the winter season started while I was still at work. I drove home in the dark, and quickly realized that my normal windshield wipers could not keep up with the snowfall, and I ended up driving with the window down and trying to clear the snow. Slightly Freezing!! Snow Windshield wipers are a must to drive in Truckee in the winter, and I got some the next day. We lived in Glenshire, the farthest of the Truckee neighborhoods towards Reno, about 6 miles from downtown Truckee.
Glenshire was fantastic, but in the winter time, neither of the two ways to get to Glenshire are easy. We had the choice of taking Glenshire Drive from downtown where many sections did not have guardrails at the time, or going on the I-80 freeway and taking the Boca Dam/Hirshdale exit. The only problem with that, was there was a large hill (9% grade) that you had to get up & down from the freeway to Glenshire. It was definitely a white knuckle, grip the steering wheel, put the car in 1st gear, and pray that you made it to the bottom of the hill!
My first drive home in the snow, I was on Glenshire Drive heading up the hill towards the neighborhood subdivision, and it was congested with cars who couldn't make it up the hill and were sliding back down. Fortunately, I made it around them, up the hill in my four wheel drive, and home and headed straight for a glass of wine! My initiation into winter Truckee Driving had begun!!
Hirshdale Hill in Glenshire, Truckee, California - 9% Grade
Our second winter, in negative 13 degrees weather, while heading to work, with my kids in the car, (the day after the 1996 severe flooding), we hit black ice and did a 360 off of Glenshire Drive and plunged off the edge and down towards the Truckee River driving over gigantic boulders along the way. We had had two days in a row with approx. 3 feet of snow each day, followed by several solid days of rain that melted all the snow and created mass flooding in California. In looking back, I should have just taken a vacation day and stayed home. Another important and expensive lesson learned about Truckee Driving!!
I remember we had crossed the Glenshire Bridge over the Truckee River, and saw some guys kayaking and trying to maneuver their kayak's in the raging waters of the Truckee River.
That day, I learned the lesson that four wheel drive alone was not enough for driving in winter in Truckee, and after getting my car fixed ($4,500 in frame damage), I promptly bought studded snow tires and except for our nerves, we switched our tires out each winter, and never had a problem after that.
This page will provide links to driving tips and links to related information that you will need to know to drive in the Truckee area in Winter. It is always best in winter to check with Cal Trans for road closures and to check the Truckee Road Conditions before heading out!
The very brief video below....shows a PERFECT example of a regular windshield wiper's inability to keep up with the snow!
Additional information on the following will be provided by the Truckee Travel Guide in detail: (info to come soon)
Snowed in Cars
Photo Courtesy of Ben Wiesner of Tahoe City, CA
I saw the photo above on Facebook, and promptly asked Ben Wiesner, of Tahoe City if he would mind if I used his picture on my website. He graciously allowed me to use this photo and several others that I will be using on other pages.
This is an excellent example of what you are faced with during a snow storm. It can often snow 1-3 feet in a single day and when it snows that much, the snow plow's have a tough time keeping up!
At times like this, it is best to just stay home and stay off the roads! If you absolutely must get out in the weather, then you should definitely check the Cal Trans information and check the Truckee Road Conditions before heading out. It was not unheard of in white out conditions for Cal Trans to close I-80 for safety reasons, so it is best to check everything out first.
Also....be aware that White Cars, Silver Cars, and other light cars tend to blend in with the snow, and are extremely difficult to see in the snow! Truckee residents typically buy the darker colored cars for that reason. See Winter Driving Tips for more information.
No Doubt about it, Truckee Driving in the Winter is a Challenge!!