Don’t Pass Snow Plows on the Right. Makes sense, right?
The snow is settling in almost everywhere in Oregon, through the Coast Range to the top of Mt Hood, Oregon’s tallest peak and well east into the Wallowas.
And to top that Winter Storm Warnings have been issued across the state. Starting Wednesday, a wind advisory is in effect, strongest winds will be felt in the Portlands Hills and in the Columbia River Gorge. Combined with freezing temperatures, these winds will create a wind-chill effect that will produce subzero-like temperatures.An official wind chill advisory will go into effect at 4 a.m. on Thursday. The icy winds are expected to cause power outages, property damage and hazardous driving conditions.
Snow plows are clearing the roads, pushing, or blowing, the snow off to the road shoulder and beyond. Putting down de-icer. Get the picture? A couple years back someone tacked this added message below the warning sign that really states the obvious. Be prepared when exploring Oregon during the winter months. Watch for snow plows and other maintenance equipment. And don’t always rely on that GPS. Many forest roads, while beautiful alternatives from the main highways and freeways during the snow free months, are not maintained during the winter.
Travelers should be aware that even a few inches of snow can obscure icy roads and soft shoulders where vehicles can become stuck. Winter storms can trigger unexpected rock slides, and falling limbs and trees; they can quickly change driving conditions on forest roads from passable to impassable in a matter of minutes.
Keys to safe winter driving: Plan for the unexpected. Keep in mind that cell phones may not work in remote areas. Check the latest road and weather conditions at TripCheck.com or dial 511 before heading out. Always tell someone where you’re going and stick to that plan. Carry an emergency kit in your vehicle. Travelers should be prepared to spend long periods of time in the car. Blankets or sleeping bags, warm clothes, a snow shovel, water, food and other necessities are recommended as part of a complete vehicle emergency kit. Always fuel up at the beginning of the trip.
Weather can change quickly, particularly in higher elevations. Good snow tires, a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and chains are advised or often required, when driving in winter conditions. As a general rule, always adjust your speed to current conditions and drive at speeds that allow you to stop in half of the visible road distance ahead of you.
ODOT and the County Maintenance Crews do an amazing job keeping our Highways and Interstates passable. They plow, they de-ice and sand but it is our job to use a little common sense, stay on roads maintained during the winter months, and drive cautiously to make sure we reach our destination safely.
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Although mask guidelines are lifted:
● Some businesses may choose to still require masks.
● Some people may choose to still wear a mask.
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