Safe winter driving tips

Hello all; it has been a while since I have added my two cents’ worth to this publication, but in the interest of keeping everyone safe, here are some winter safe driving thoughts.

SLOW DOWN. Traction is a good thing to have; it helps keep the car on the road. When traction is lost, slowing down gradually and steering a small amount, instead of slamming on the brakes and jerking the wheel, is the best way to stay safe.

As far as driving on snow and ice, chains are required in Oregon whenever winter conditions exist and SNOW ZONE signs are posted advising drivers to carry or use them. Oregon’s weather can change quickly and without warning, so it’s a good idea to carry chains during the fall and winter months.

Know how to put your chains on; practice installing them before your trip, and don’t wait until the last minute to chain up. Pull over to a safe level area such as a designated chain-up area and wear reflective, warm clothing. When putting on chains, lie with your legs pointed away from the travel lane and stay as far away from traffic as possible. Drivers who disobey signs requiring chains are subject to citations and fines

Just in case you end up in the ditch, it would be wise to have an emergency kit! In this kit you should have a shovel, flares, extra food, water, blankets, candles and fire starter. Be prepared! 

Inspect your vehicle before you get on the road, and make sure your wipers, lights, battery, tires and brakes are in good working order. In severe weather, closures and crashes can cause long delays, so allow more time to reach your destination.

Keep your eyes peeled; in other words DRIVE CAUTIOUSLY!!  Please wear your seat belt.

Chain information including snow zone notices, chain requirements and diagrams are posted on Oregon’s travel information website: Snow zone notices and road condition information are also available by phone. From within Oregon, call 511 or 1-800-977-ODOT (6368). From outside Oregon, dial 503-588-2941. You can even sign up to receive automated traffic alerts via Twitter.

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.