Traveling in inclement weather can be a dangerous undertaking, still tons of Northern Californians will hit rain-slicked highways this weekend so they can arrive at their holiday destinations on time.
An estimated 11.7 million Californians will travel at least 50 miles during the two weeks around Christmas, with Friday (that's today) being the single biggest travel day, according to AAA.
There's rain in the forecast through Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The sun may come out for Christmas.
A little precipitation on the pavement doesn't seem like much, but rain delayed flights at San Francisco International Airport on Friday morning. Add in high winds and motorists may encounter roads blocked by fallen trees or downed power lines on top of the usual spin-outs.
The warnings become more foreboding as elevations increase. There may be blinding snowstorms and whiteout conditions Highways 50 and 80, popular routes to Tahoe and the Sierra. Motorists should be prepared with food, water and blankets in case they have to hunker down in their vehicles on the side of the road.
The worst-case scenario stories are out there to remind us how bad it can get, such as San Fransisco's James Kim trying to hike to help after his family became snowbound on a remote road road in Southern Oregon. Kim died.
Motorists may even be leery of getting on the road this weekend after the 60-vehicle pileup on I-5 near the California-Oregon border that shut down the interstate earlier in the week. The CHP said roads were icy at the time.
But it's hard to stay home and miss out on family and holiday celebrations. (Who could forget how hard Kevin's mom fought to get back for Christmas in Home Alone?)
If you're planning on taking a road trip over the holidays, the CHP offers a list of winter driving safety tips, especially when heading into snowy areas.
Do you take extra precautions when driving over the holidays? Or try to avoid it altogether? Have you ever had a bad experience while heading out of town for the holiday season, or coming back? Comment below.