The Basics —- If you don’t have to drive: Don’t Drive!
Travelers should prepare for winter driving conditions throughout the state over the next few days. Snow, low temperatures, and high winds are all in the forecast.
Valleys and other low elevation areas will likely have less snow, but low overnight temperatures can make roads icy. A clear road can still have ice, so slow down and budget extra time for your trip.
Many roads through high-elevation areas have packed snow and ice. High winds may cause snow drifts, too. Tire chain restrictions are in effect on most high-elevation roads. If you’re traveling this week, be winter-ready with water, snacks, warm clothing, medications, and other essentials.
Visit tripcheck.com for the latest on road conditions, chain restrictions, and other winter travel information throughout Oregon
Whether it’s snow, sleet or ice, winter weather can cause extremely dangerous road conditions.
Preparing yourself – and your vehicle – for winter weather is key.
It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. In fact, in 2020, there were an estimated 119,000 police- reported crashes that occurred in wintry conditions. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside the truck. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay far enough behind it and use caution if you pass the plow.
What to Do in an Emergency
If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, stay focused on yourself and your passengers, your car, and your surroundings.
- Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
- Let your car be seen. Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light on.
- Be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any snow and run your car only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm. Don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.
Stock Your Vehicle
Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks, and supplies you might need in an emergency, including:
- a snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper;
- abrasive material (sand or kitty litter), in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow;
- jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices (flares and emergency markers);
- blankets for protection from the cold; and
- a cell phone and charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine.
Prepare Your Car for Winter
In addition to annual maintenance, here are some tips to winterize your car:
● Test your battery; battery power drops as the temperature drops
● Make sure the cooling system is in good working order
● Have winter tires with a deeper, more flexible tread put on your car
● If using all-season tires, check the tread and replace if less than 2/32 of an inch
● Check the tire pressure; tire pressure drops as the temperature drops
● Check your wiper blades and replace if needed
● Add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees
● Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze
Remember to keep your car’s emergency preparedness kit fully stocked, too.
Before You Start Out
● Clean your car’s external camera lenses and side mirrors
● Remove dirt, ice and snow from sensors to allow the assistive-driving features, like automatic emergency braking, to work
● In frigid weather, you may want to warm up the car before you drive
● To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never leave a vehicle running in your garage – even with the garage door up
● If the forecast looks iffy, wait out the storm; if you must travel, share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave
How to Avoid a Crash
AAA offers the following driving tips:
● Avoid using cruise control in wintry conditions
● Steer in the direction of a skid, so when your wheels regain traction, you don’t have to overcorrect to stay in your lane
● Accelerate and decelerate slowly
● Increase following distance to 8 to 10 seconds
● If possible, don’t stop when going uphill
If visibility is severely limited due to a whiteout, pull off the road to a safe place and do not drive until conditions improve. Avoid pulling off onto the shoulder unless it is an absolute emergency. Limited visibility means other vehicles can’t see yours on the shoulder.