CAJON PASS, Calif. (VVNG.com) — A white Christmas is a dream for many, but before you head up the mountains there are some things you should know.
Caltrans hosted a press conference Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 to offer tips and valuable information regarding travel through the Cajon pass and mountain communities this holiday.
In addition to Caltrans, other speakers included meteorologist Alex Tardy, county supervisors Robert Lovingood and Janice Rutherford, Sheriff John McMahon from San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and representatives from CHP.
According to Alex Tardy, there is a storm in the forecast and it is supposed to hit on Christmas day and continue into the day after. There is another storm predicted for the New Years’ holiday as well.
This storm will be cold and is expected to bring snow down to the 4500 ft range which includes parts of the Cajon pass.
Hoping to combat traffic and unsafe road conditions by vehicles blocking snowplows, ticket fines will increase from $15 to $150 per vehicle.
There will also be hefty fines starting at $300 for individuals who choose to abandon their vehicles on the roadside.
Sheriff John McMahon shared some tips on how best to be prepared for a winter storm while traveling.
“When you leave your home headed to mountain areas make sure you have extra food, water, blankets and a full tank of gas,” said McMahon. “You should also have a way to charge your cell phone beside your vehicle as well.”
“If you see the snow is piling up and you are unprepared without chains or a four-wheel drive, it is best to turn around and not continue,” said McMahon.
Caltrans maintenance manager two, Don Elms, also shared information about traffic incidents involving snowplows during the last storm on Thanksgiving.
“There were over 10 Caltrans snowplows involved in traffic accidents with the public for various reasons including DUI,” said Elms. “Of those 10 accidents, none were the fault of Caltrans drivers.”
It was also mentioned by county supervisor Janice Rutherford, that fines for littering will be up to $1,000 and it is required that all trash created by visitors be removed including broken sleds.
For those heading to the mountain communities to stay over the holiday, it is best to travel early and check road conditions before leaving.
“If you are renting a property in the mountain communities, check with your landlord if they prepared for emergency conditions or if you need to,” said Rutherford.
Given conditions presented by the last storm on Thanksgiving, it is advised that all travelers take safety precautions to avoid being trapped on the roads during the storm.
Road conditions can be found on the Caltrans website https://roads.dot.ca.gov/ and by calling 1-800-427-7623.