When it comes to taking a vacation, our usual goal is to unplug, relax and simply have a good, care free time. Isn’t that the whole point when taking a break from the 9-5 grind of careers, life, parenthood and well….adulthood in general? We think so. However, living in a resort town, we understand the importance of staying safe and making good decisions while still having a good time. With the latest round of storms, a lot of locals have seen (and shared) some questionable decisions made by some of our visitors. Here are a few tips of what not to do as well as some general things to keep in mind when visiting Lake Tahoe for your getaway.
Winter Driving: We have covered this in previous blogs so this section will be a simple recap. Prepare your vehicle, pack blankets, water, food, games and things that will keep your car mates occupied if you find yourself in the vehicle for a while. Give yourself and the cars around you space. One thing we continue to see is folks not clearing off the tops of their cars. Not only can this negatively impact your travel, it can negatively impact the folks around you. That two feet of snow on top of your car isn’t fluff. It usually is compact ice and snow that can either fly off in chunks and hit windshields or slide down yours, causing you to not be able to see. If you do not have a vehicle that is equipped for winter weather, get your chains and learn how to install them before you head up to the lake. Once you get on the pass, the places to purchase these are few and far between. CHP has been pulling folks over for not clearing the tops of their cars AND bypassing the chain install stations. Feeling uncomfortable traveling in these conditions once you get into town? That is ok! Simply move to the right and make it easy for other travelers to go around you.
Don’t use GPS APPS: Use the main roads to get into town and do not use WAZE or other apps as your guide. WAZE has been directing travelers to roads that don’t exist, are closed, flooded or are for locals to get into their residential neighborhoods. The excessive amount of visitors attempting short cuts has actually caused a major back log in traffic. With California Highway Patrol having to hold traffic for accidents and avalanche control, there are many residents who haven’t been able to get home for several hours because they can’t access the roads to get home due to the volume of travelers trying to take short cuts.
Parking: Just because you can’t see the lines at a grocery store or even one of the HOA condos or cabins throughout town, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We have been seeing so many vehicles pulled into spots completely sideways or just half way. This not only takes up extra spots, but it turns parking lots into a complete cluster that aren’t enjoyable for anyone. Especially snow removal, which has been working tirelessly to keep roads and parking cleared for you and emergency personnel. In residential lots, it causes full time residents from being able to get in or out of their spots which impacts their ability to get to work, school, etc.
Street Parking: Street Parking isn’t a thing in the winter. In fact, one or more of the following can happen if you park your car in the street during a snow storm:
- A ticket.
- A tow and a ticket.
- A town, a ticket and a City Plow running into your vehicle in which they will not be held liable because you weren’t supposed to be there in the first place. Your insurance also may not cover damages due to the fact that you were parked in the street when you weren’t supposed to be.
Not only can the above happen, but you prohibit city plows from clearing the road for the emergency personnel. This prohibits your neighbors, as well as yourself, from being able to go anywhere depending on how much snow accumulates during your stay in the street. If you have booked a South Lake Tahoe vacation rental, call the management company and ask about snow removal. Lots of South Lake Tahoe vacation rentals include snow removal, which means you can pull into the driveway. If snow removal is not included, ask if there is a shovel or snow blower that you can use to create a nice spot for your car. If it isn’t, stop by one of the many stores and grab a $30 shovel. While shoveling snow on vacation doesn’t sound fun, a ticket, a tow and a damaged vehicle that insurance won’t cover sounds way less fun than 30 minutes of shoveling.
Keep your hands to yourself: Also pass this along to your children. Lately, some locals have noticed some interesting behavior amongst visitors this winter. They seem to think that because they booked one South Lake Tahoe vacation rental, they have access to the features and amenities of their neighbors as well. Don’t use your neighbor’s deck as a jumping point to land in the snow. Don’t knock down those very tempting, large icicles on the neighbor’s houses. We know, it seems satisfying, but it can actually rip off the shingles causing property damage. Also don’t use things that belong to other people without asking. You wouldn’t go over to your neighbors house at home and do these things, so why do it on vacation?
Stay out of the roads: Our usual two lane roads are reduced to one lane while our four lane roads are reduced to two…ish. Add in berms that make it hard to see over and icy conditions that make it hard to stop and well, that innocent game of sliding or climbing off a berm can end in a trip to the hospital. Need to walk the dog or feel like cross country skiing to the store, by all means, go for it. Just don’t shoot dirty looks at those trying to drive down a street (that is meant for driving by the way) and move to the side so that cars can get through. Trust us, no one is TRYING to hit you. For those driving cars, don’t just stop in the middle of the road. For some reason, we see folks just stopping in the middle of the road so they can look up directions, figure out their game plan, put on chains or take photos. Once again, for the safety of those around you, keep driving until you find a safe spot to pull over.
In a nutshell, when traveling to Lake Tahoe during the winter, utilize the Golden Rule. Park how you would want others to park. Treat properties how you would treat your own. Travel how you would want others traveling around you. Be nice to the waitstaff, store clerk, neighbor, etc. Most of us have quit doing our snow dances by now and are in this WITH you. Have questions about traveling in and around Lake Tahoe? Ask us when you are booking your vacation rental in South Lake Tahoe. We are dedicated to making sure you have a good time and are happy to give advice or help out in anyway that we can. Enjoy!