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Watch For Winter Driving Conditions

Drivers should watch out for slick, icy roads and remember to drive for conditions with freezing temperatures and a mix of rain and snow forecast this week in the Willamette Valley.

Ice keeps tires from gripping the road, making steering and stopping harder. Bridges and overpasses may ice over even when roads don’t.

Remember, driving on icy roads is never a safe choice – even having a four-wheel drive vehicle won’t help much unless you have chains on your tires. The safest thing to do is stay off the road until conditions improve. If you drive, follow these common sense rules for navigating icy roads and bridges:

On the road

Slow down and keep your distance from vehicles in front of you, allowing about three times as much space between vehicles.You can’t always see ice on the road. Look for signs of ice on windshield wipers, side view mirrors, road signs, trees and fences. If those are icy, chances are the road is too.If your vehicle feels like it’s floating, slow down.Don’t slam on your brakes or you may skid out of control.Turn off cruise control.

Be prepared

Plan your route. Visit Tripcheck.com in advance to look at ODOT cameras and check conditions.Carry an emergency kit that includes water, food and blankets.Fill your gas tank and charge your phone. Carry chains and know how to use them if you’re traveling over higher elevations.

Watch out for each other

Remember cyclists and pedestrians are harder to see in a storm. If you’re biking or walking remember that cars don’t stop quickly on snow and ice.Beware of outages. If a storm knocks out power to traffic signals, treat intersections like an all-way stop. The driver who stops first goes first.

In severe weather, ODOT deploys all available tools in its winter arsenal, including plows, sanders, deicers and solid rock salt. Crews and equipment have been prepositioned to respond. ODOT crews are working 12-hour shifts around the clock. If conditions allow, crews will pre-treat roads with de-icer -- magnesium chloride with rust inhibitor – on area roads with plows and sanding trucks on standby for use as needed.

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