Thursday, February 26, 2009

Winter driving, Yosemite

We get so many questions on this topic, let me give you the low-down.

Yosemite Winter Driving: When calling Yosemite's roads & weather hotline, 209-372-0200 when Chain Controls are in effect, you will get instructions of R1, R2 or R3. Here is what each of these mean:

R-1 Chains are required – snow tread tires are allowedPark road signs will show “AUTOS & PICKUPS SNOW TIRES OK”, “Carry Chains”. Tires must be rated for snow (M-S or M+S, All Season). Snow tires must have a minimum tread depth of 6/32 of an inch to be legal. You still need to carry chains in your vehicle. If your tires don’t meet these requirements you must use chains.

R-2 Chains are required on “All” vehicles except four-wheel drive vehicles with snow tires on all four wheels. Park road signs will show “4W DRIVE WITH SNOW TIRES OK”, “Carry Chains”. Four wheel drive vehicles meeting this requirement must still carry tire chains.

R-3 Chains are required – “All” vehicles – no exceptions. It might be a better choice on days like this to sit curled up with a book until tomorrow when the weather is often nicer.

The posted speed limit in the park is 25 mph when chain requirements are in effect. State Law requires you to carry chains in your vehicle when entering an active chain control area. Tire traction devices can be link chain, cable chain and/or spider straps. For more info:

Word on the street is that Fox and Dollar car rentals allow chains on their rental cars and will rent chains to you. Consider these car rental companies when winter driving in the Sierras.

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