Snow and ice are expected to blanket roads in the canyons and passes of Southern California this week as a cold storm hits the region.

Travel is strongly discouraged, as several feet of snow expected to accumulate by Saturday. A rare blizzard warning is in effect Friday and Saturday for mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Map: see where string checks are in effect.

“Travel should be limited to emergencies only,” according to the National Weather Service (NWS). “If you must travel, take a winter survival kit with you. If you get stuck, stay with your vehicle.”

When the traffic lights are on these areas indicate that strings are required, conductors must stop and install snow chains. Failure to do so may result in a citation and a fine.

Here are some things to know about Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol.

The Basics of Chain Requirements

  • If you don’t have chains, check your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Control zones may change due to changes in weather and road conditions. Be aware and watch for the signs.
  • When chains are required, the speed limit is 25-30 mph.
  • Make sure you are completely out of the way to the right when installing the chains. Do not stop in a traffic lane.
  • If using a channel installation service, obtain a receipt and license plate number from the installer. Chainers are not employees of Caltrans.
  • You will see “End of Chain Control” signals when you can remove the chains. Drive past the signs, pull off the road and safely remove them.

Three levels of California chain requirements

  • Requirement 1: Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light trucks under 6,000 lbs. gross weight that are equipped with snow tires on at least two-wheel drive. Chains must be transported by vehicles equipped with snow tires. All vehicles that tow trailers must have chains on a drive axle. Braked trailers must have chains on at least one axle.
  • Requirement 2: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four-wheel-drive vehicles and four-wheel-drive vehicles equipped with four-wheel snow tires. All-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive vehicles must be equipped with traction devices in chain control areas.
  • Requirement 3: Chains or traction devices are mandatory on all vehicles, without exception.

Information: Call the Caltrans Highway Information Network at 800-427-7623 or look at this map.

This story first appeared on Telemundo 52’s sister station NBCLA. Click on here to read this story in English.

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