Temperatures have been getting close to freezing the last few nights. Use extra caution when driving and watch for ice.
Friday, 11/01/13, studded tires are allowed for use on Oregon roadways.
Watch for ice
Bridges and overpasses are the most dangerous parts of the road in the winter. They are the first to freeze and the last to thaw because they’re built of concrete, which doesn’t retain as much heat as other materials. There is no land beneath the structure to provide protection from the weather. To be safe, when driving on roads that may be icy, remember the following:
- Turn off your cruise control, be alert and drive cautiously.
- Roads that are wet or have fresh snow, packed snow, or ice have varying degrees of traction.Adjust your speed to match road conditions.
- Increase your distance from vehicles in front of you. Allow about three times as much space as usual.
- If your vehicle suddenly feels like it’s floating, gradually slow down. Don’t slam on your brakes.
- Changes in elevation can drastically affect road and weather conditions. Watch for icy spots, especially in shaded corners.
- Avoid driving through snowdrifts — they may cause your vehicle to spin out of control.
- Blowing powder or dry snow can limit your visibility, especially when approaching or following trucks or snowplows. Keep your distance to avoid being blinded by blowing snow.
After a storm has passed, you should remain cautious, especially on bridges and overpasses. Maintenance crews will be out to clear roads as soon as possible, but the snow and ice may not melt right away.
Snowy, icy roads hold danger
In 2012, at least 23 people died and more than 1,000 were injured in crashes that occurred on snowy or icy roads in Oregon. There were more than 2,600 crashes in these conditions. Driving on slippery roads is unpredictable. Try to avoid travel when roads are snowy or icy, and if you must get out, be extra cautious.
Invisible danger: Black ice. Beware!
Black ice, also called glare ice or clear ice, is a thin layer of ice on the roadway. Any ice is dangerous to drive on, but black ice is particularly hazardous because the road looks wet, not icy. Black ice isn’t really black; it’s so thin and transparent that the darker pavement shows through. It often has a matte appearance rather than the expected gloss.
Ice on the road prevents tires from gripping, so steering is difficult and stopping is harder. That means four-wheel drive vehicles won’t help much. Ordinary snow tires are designed for snow, not ice. The most helpful device for gaining traction on ice is tire chains. But even with chains, stopping distance is still several times greater than on dry pavement with ordinary tires.
Black ice is most common at night and very early in the morning, when temperatures are typically their lowest. It is usually thin enough that it melts soon after sunlight hits it, but it can last much longer on shaded areas of roadways. Bridges and overpasses are danger spots: since they do not receive as much heat from the ground and lose more heat to the air, they can drop below freezing even when the rest of the roadway doesn’t.
Ice forms on the road when the road surface temperature drops below freezing. The ground cools more slowly than the air and warms back more slowly as well, so even if the air temperature is above freezing, the roadway may still be frozen. This discrepancy between temperatures can lull drivers into a false sense of security: they hear the temperature on the morning news and think all’s well, when the road is still frozen.
To avoid slipping on icy bridges and roads, remember these tips:
- Slow down and keep your distance from vehicles in front of you. Allow about three times as much space.
- Turn off your cruise control, be alert and drive cautiously to avoid ice on the road ahead.
- Look for signs of ice other than on the roadway: on windshield wipers, side view mirrors, road signs, trees or fences. If ice has formed on any of these things, it may be on the road.
- If your vehicle feels like it’s floating, gradually slow down; don’t slam on your brakes or you may skid out of control.
We are approaching the rainy season once again. While traveling this fall/winter, follow these tips for safe driving in rain. Have safe travels.
These tips will keep you and your passengers safe on wet roads.
1. Routinely check your tires…
Always check your tires before you hit the road. Make sure you do the following routine maintenance:
Keep your tires properly inflated. The correct air pressure for your tires is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found on the vehicle door edge, door-post, and glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner's manual. The number listed on the side of the tire is not the recommended air pressure for your tire – it is the maximum air pressure for the tire. You should check your tire's air pressure at least once a month.
Check the tires tread depth. Proper tread depth will help prevent skids and aquaplaning.
2. Slow down.
As rain falls, it mixes with grime and oil on the road creating slick conditions perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tire's tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction.
3. Know how to recover from a skid.
Skids can happen even to the most cautious drivers. If your car does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes. Do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead, apply firm, steady pressure to the brakes and steer the car in the direction of the skid.
4. Keep your distance from the car ahead.
Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls – steering, clutch, brake and accelerator – and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and can easily slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly. It takes about three times longer to break on wet roads than on dry roads. Since more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep a little more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
5. Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.
Avoid using your brakes. Whenever possible, slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator.Turn your headlights on, even in a light rain. Not only do they help you see the road, but they'll help other drivers see you. If your car has daytime running lights, you should turn them on, so vehicles behind you can see you better.
6. Prepare for your journey.
Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls – steering, clutch, brake and accelerator – and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and liable to slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly.
7. Learn how to avoid and deal with aquaplaning.
Aquaplaning happens when the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tires and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road. To avoid aquaplaning, keep your tires properly inflated, ensure that the tread non skid is above the legal limits on your tires and replace them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you. If you find yourself Aquaplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the accelerator until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do so gently with light pumping actions. If your car has ABS, then brake normally; the car's computer will mimic a pumping action, when necessary.
8. If the rain becomes too heavy, stop!
Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades, allowing an almost continuous sheet of water to flow over the screen. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at rest areas or other protected areas. If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers.
9. First rains make the road very slippery.
The first rains always make the roads the most difficult to drive on, as the mud and oil on the dry road combines with the water and forms a rather slippery layer. Drivers are likely to experience reduced control, and are cautioned to be extra careful for the first half-hour after it begins to rain.
10. Cloudy weather reduces visibility.
Use extra caution when passing other vehicles.
11. Dry your brakes after driving through standing water.
If you have driven through standing water deep enough to get your brake shoes wet, apply the brakes lightly to dry them.
12. Don't drive while fatigued.
Stop at least every couple of hours or every hundred miles to rest.
*Information courtesy of Goodyear
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