Rail Road Flat resident Ryan J. Ireland, 24, was arrested Jan. 3 for driving under the influence near Mountain Ranch, according to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) press release.

The CHP Stockton Communications Center received a call at approximately 1:40 p.m. that day about an overturned pickup truck on Rail Road Flat Road, near Swiss Ranch Road in the Mountain Ranch area.

CHP officers from the San Andreas Area Office arrived on scene and made contact with Ireland.

It was determined that Ireland was driving a 2002 Dodge Dakota at a high rate of speed while using his cell phone. Ireland failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, due to his “inattention and level of intoxication,” causing him to veer off the roadway, crash into a power pole and overturn.

Ireland was arrested at the scene, but was released to Mark Twain Medical Center in San Andreas for treatment of major injuries.

In a list of driving safety tips released by the California Department of Transportation today, the agency urged motorists to use their best judgement in all types of weather.

Before traveling, Caltrans recommends checking weather and road conditions via Caltrans QuickMap, an online resource with real-time traffic flow information, chain control, alerts and closure information. Additionally, motorists can call 511 or the Caltrans Highway Information Network at 1-800-427-7623 for travel information. Drivers can also check live traffic cameras at www.dot.ca.gov/video/ before traveling.

Caltrans winter driving tips:

Reduce your speed to match driving conditions and allow more time to reach your destination. Know that bridges and ramps may be more slippery than the roadway.

Keep your fuel tank full. Bad weather may cause long delays or closures.

Turn on your headlights to see and be seen. Be observant and maintain a safe distance behind snow removal equipment. Do not pass snow plows unless directed to do so.

When driving in fog, reduce your speed and use headlights on low-beam along with fog lights. Stay to the right along the white edge line and never stop in the road. If visibility is not adequate, pull off of the roadway when safe to do so.

Do not drive through flooded areas. Safely turn around and find another route.

If you start sliding on snow or ice, slowly take your foot off the gas pedal and steer in the direction you wish to travel. Do not lock your brakes. Pump the brakes if needed, or apply steady pressure if your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes.

Don’t use cruise control.

Avoid in-car distractions while driving.

If you are stalled, activate your hazard signals and stay with your vehicle. Conserve fuel by periodically turning your engine on and off while maintaining warmth, but be aware of possible exhaust and carbon monoxide issues.

If you approach an emergency, maintenance, or any other vehicle stopped on the side of the road, move over when safe to do so or slow down.

For more information on winter driving, chain controls, and additional resources, visit dot.ca.gov/cttravel/winter.html. Caltrans’ “Weathering the Storm” winter driving tips brochure is also available.

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