Scorched by a week of triple-digit temperatures, Sacramentans are expected to head to cooler climes in huge numbers this July Fourth weekend.
But highway safety officials warn that the oppressive Valley heat and crowded roads could make that drive a little more dangerous.
Sacramento's high temperatures this weekend will ease off a bit, to the low 90s. San Francisco will top out in the mid-60s. Lake Tahoe highs will hover at 80 degrees.
California Highway Patrol officials say they will be out in force looking for speeders, drunken drivers and other risky drivers.
July Fourth is typically one of the most crash-prone days of the year, state data show, ranking behind Thanksgiving and New Year's. Last year, nine people were killed in California on Independence Day.
The heat also leaves drivers dehydrated, slowing their reflexes and causing a lack of attention, safety officials said. It also can make some drivers irritable, impatient and frustrated, said Chris Cochran of the state Office of Traffic Safety.
"Try to 'keep your cool' attitude-wise," he said. "You don't want to add road rage or aggressive driving to an already miserably hot day."
Safety officials suggest that drivers on longer-distance trips bring cold water with them, and stop as often as every hour to get refreshed.
Several safety agencies this week have published warnings against leaving children unattended in cars on hot days, an action that is illegal in California.
In Fresno last month, a 15-month-old boy died after his parents accidentally left him locked in the family car for an hour in 100-plus degree heat.
"If you see an unattended child in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately," state Office of Traffic Safety Director Chris Murphy said this week.
Drivers in the Bay Area this weekend could run into some extended traffic jams because of a worker strike that has halted Bay Area Rapid Transit trains this week. The strike had not been resolved as of Tuesday afternoon.
For those interested in taking a train and a bus into the city, the Capitol Corridor train system is offering a summer group discount. Riders who pay the full fare can purchase $5 tickets for up to five others in their group. Go to www.capitolcorridor.org.
Riders to S.F. will transfer to a bus in Emeryville.
In the Tahoe area, agencies teamed last week to launch the North Tahoe Water Shuttle service. The shuttle connects Tahoe City, Tahoe Vista, Carnelian Bay and two spots at Homewood. Adults pay $10 for a one-way trip, and $20 for a round-trip ticket. Ticket prices for children 10 and younger are $7 one way and $14 round trip. Reservations are recommended: Go to www.northlaketahoewatershuttle.com or call (530) 581-8707.
Call The Bee's Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059. Follow him on Twitter @tonybizjak.