You just never know what you’ll see when you’re driving in California. For instance, did you see this wild video of possibly the craziest thing you’ve ever seen on a California freeway?
Earlier this week, drivers in California came face to face with unexpected obstacles, turning their drive into a video game-like adventure when tumbleweeds flew across the freeway along Interstate 5 in Central California. ABC News shared a video, which you can watch below:
According to ABC News, “the National Weather Service warned of wind gusts up to 65 mph along part of I-5 as a major storm hits the region. A powerful Pacific jet stream is bringing two dangerous storms fueled by an atmospheric river to the West Coast.”
AccuWeather also shared the story, saying: “Drivers were forced to traverse a stampede of tumbleweeds on January 31, as strong winds battered parts of California. This footage, filmed by Cory Allen LeGars, shows a group of tumbleweeds bouncing across Interstate 5 in Coalinga, central California. LeGars told Storyful he filmed this footage while driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco. “Traffic slowed to a crawl due to an overabundance of tumbleweeds littering the highway,” he said. “I did my best to dodge them!” he added.
So, what are tumbleweeds and where do they come from? They’re described as twisted balls of dead foliage by one site and are actually a noxious weed known as Russian thistle. According to PBS Newshour, “as they roll and bounce, pushed by gusts of wind, they can overwhelm entire neighborhoods or become a threat for drivers and an expensive nuisance for farmers.”
“They tumble across highways and can cause accidents,” said Mike Pitcairn, who tracks tumbleweeds at the California Department of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento. “They pile up against fences and homes.”
If you encounter tumbleweeds while you’re driving, you may think it best to swerve to avoid them as they barrel down the road. But it’s best to avoid swerving, which may be a hazard to your own vehicle and other vehicles around you. Acting Director for El Paso County Department of Public Works Jack Ladley told Fox Weather that if you encounter tumbleweed on the road, not to try and drive through them. “A concern is these tumbleweeds are very dry, very brittle you try to push through them … the risk that you run is they lay up against a hot exhaust pipe and they catch fire.”
There isn’t much you can do about tumbleweeds that appear out of nowhere but when you’re driving, be sure to slow down and use extra caution.
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