How Oregon Drivers Can Avoid Crashes In Winter

Driving is perhaps one of the most dangerous things that we do as humans. This is particularly true when winter rolls around and snow and ice can accumulate on the roadways, leading to treacherous conditions for drivers. Here, we want to talk about some things that drivers in Oregon can do to avoid crashes during the winter months. There are various ways to prep a vehicle if inclement weather is expected, and defensive driving tactics can go a long way towards preventing car accidents.

Be Patient

During the winter months, it is best to exercise patience when you have to get out on the roadway. In fact, you may need to postpone any expected road trips for a few hours or even a few days if the conditions look too treacherous to travel in. Before you do head out during the winter months, you should check the weather and make sure you have a clear route. Only drive if you are well-rested and alert.

Use Extreme Caution

One of the best ways to stay safe is to whip out those defensive driving techniques and be extra cautious when you are approaching areas where snow or ice is on the roadway. In order to prevent your vehicle from slipping, keep the following in mind:

  • Do not use cruise control on wet, snowy, or icy roads.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel in the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions or lower so that you have the most control.
  • Slow down gradually if you lose traction on the roadway. Do not brake hard on the ice or snow.
  • You should always accelerate, brake, and steer smoothly.
  • Avoided driving through snowdrifts where these areas could be slicker. If you see a shaded area coming up, slow down before you approach it. Snow and ice melt last in these areas.

Used Tire Chains When Necessary

Laws regarding tire chains apply to all roads and highways in Oregon. You need to watch out for signs indicating when snow tires or tire chains are required. To be clear, this will not be necessary on every roadway in Oregon when the snow starts to fall, but highway engineers have studied which roadways should require these additional devices. Tire chains can help significantly increase traction in these hazardous conditions.

Additionally, you need to know that studded tires can only be used between November 1st and April 1st in the state of Oregon.

Keep the Vehicle Maintained

You must ensure that your vehicle is maintained, particularly as we move towards the winter months. Some of the things that you can do to ensure your vehicle is ready for colder weather include the following:

  • Keeping your windshield wipers in good working condition
  • Making sure antifreeze and other fluids are topped off
  • Ensuring that all hoses under the engine are not brittle or loose
  • Making sure your battery is fully charged
  • Checking your heater and defroster
  • Making sure your tires are inflated properly and in good condition
  • Carrying chains or having snow tires installed

Watch out for Snowplows

During the winter months in Oregon, you really do need to watch out for a variety of vehicles that are not present during the summer, including snowplows and sanding trucks. Snowplows are going to work on removing the snow from priority roadways, and sanding trucks are going to be putting down sand and salt mixtures to discourage ice from gathering in hot spot areas. You need to make sure that you do not follow these plows or sanders too closely. These are large vehicles, and they have bigger blind spots than traditional vehicles. You also should not pass a snowplow or sander.