We have been very fortunate this year to see so much snow. At the beginning of these big storms however there is a phenomenon called Sierra Cement that is like a mixture of rain and snow. This stuff is difficult to deal with because it’s wet, slippery, and sloppy, creating problems for drivers and pedestrians alike. Here are a few tips on how to make life in the Sierras a little easier during these times.
Get on Tahoe Time
Make sure to give yourself extra time when leaving the house. This slushy goop can cause your car to slide much easier than water and even snow. Even studded snow tires are no match for Sierra cement. Remember to take your time and brake early. Besides you’re in Tahoe! Just cruise and enjoy the scenery.
Take it ALL Off
Make sure to clear of your car as much as possible. If you have to come to a stop quickly and a bunch of slush slides onto your windshield, your wipers might not have the strength to brush it off. You risk an accident driving to a place to pull over or stopping traffic to clean your car off in the middle of the road.
It’s the Law!
You are required by law to carry tire chains in your vehicle. The most impressive thing about Sierra Cement is that it can change to heavy snow in an instant which creates a thick layer of ice on the road and can be very dangerous if you’re not prepared. Chain control will make you turn around if you don’t have the right equipment.
I Can’t See!
Most importantly, be careful taking corners around large snow berms. As a delivery driver for Asiago’s Pizzeria on the Nevada side I spend a lot of time driving in residential areas. These are the areas where the Snow berms are the worst. I can’t tell you how many accidents I have almost gotten into because the person turning into the road can’t tell there is a car bulleting down a residential street. The road may look clear but we have lost pretty much all of our peripheral vision with these huge piles of snow. Be courteous and understand that if someone cuts you off it was probably due to this issue. I would advise lowering your speed by 5 mph to give you a cushion of time to react in case you have to stop or avoid an accident.
Winter is very hard on the infrastructure of our little town of South Lake Tahoe. Snow Plows and wet freezing weather can create potholes in the roads which will fill with slush and water during the beginning of a big snow storm. It is really tempting to try and make a big splash through puddles but you don’t want to end up messing up your alignment for a few seconds of fun.
You’ve Got to Move it Move it
Unless you’ve got a really good snow blower, I wouldn’t recommend using it for Sierra Cement removal. This stuff freezes and can contain large chunks of ice that can jam up your auger and render your snowblower useless. It is a good idea to remove it from your driveway make sure to shovel it into the yard so the snow can act like a sponge and soak up some of the water to keep it out of your driveway. If you leave all that slush to freeze over night you might end up with an ice skating rink instead of a parking spot.
Dry Piggies are Happy Piggies
Never be sure of anything with slushy snow. Just having an extra pair of warm socks can make your day. It’s so hard to stay focused on work if your feet are cold because you stepped in a puddle. Not to mention it’s really easy to take a spill out there and if you do, you end up sopping wet and freezing. This is a sure fire way to ruin your day. Think how grateful you would be to get into some warm dry clothes after that!
Sit Back, Relax, And Wait it Out
If you don’t have to go anywhere don’t. Stock up on some supplies at the grocery store and have a Netflix marathon or spend some time on one of your favorite hobbies. Tahoe locals are industrious and adventurous people but it’s nice to take a break from that every once in awhile. A Sierra cement storm is the perfect opportunity for you to do this, plus, a little down time is good for the brain and will foster your creativity.
I hope you all find these tips helpful and if you can think of anything I left out, please let us know!