CHP: prepare for road closures as snow levels are expected to drop

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A light dusting of snow is covering the parts of the Grapevine Wednesday night.

At the Love's Gas Station where truckers fill up before taking on the mountainous pass, many are debating if they want to pass.

"If you drive too fast, the snow starts to stick and becomes like ice. And if you aren't familiar with it, it's better to stay off of it," truck driver Pablo Garcia said.

Veteran truckers say they've all been stuck on the Grapevine at some point in their career.

Chris Depaolo, who has been hauling freight for 17 years, has seen it all.

"Once one person stops, then the other person stops then you have a chain reaction of people slipping and sliding everywhere. Once you're going up a hill, a truck loaded with 80 thousand pounds, can't start back up," he said.

California Highway Patrol officers say with snow levels dropping to 1,500 feet, the chances of a repeat closure are high, especially if drivers aren't cautious.

"Physics shows most collisions are caused due to speed, go ahead slow down, leave a little early so you can get to your destination on time," said CHP officer Vic Taylor.

Many truckers choose alternate routes in the winter and divert to State Route 58. The road is longer but in the high desert.

"Little bit of snow and first thing they do is shut everybody down. So I don't want to spend any more thing on the side of the road than I have to," said truck driver Robert Dickinson.

"You just got to look ahead, pay attention, drive safely, slow, put down your phone," Garcia said.

Officers say if you get caught in a delay, be prepared. Have a full tank of gas - and make sure you have working windshield wipers.
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