Prepare for winter storm conditions on the roadways

Drivers are advised to use traction devices, December 8, 2016 (PBOT)
Drivers are advised to use traction devices, December 8, 2016 (PBOT)

When a winter storm brings snow, ice, and freezing rain, make sure you’re prepared for the worst. The best advice in bad weather is not to travel at all if you can avoid it. Wait for conditions to improve and stay off the roadways so snow plows and sanding trucks can clear the way.

If you have to go somewhere when the streets are covered in snow and ice, use public transit. Drivers should carry tire chains just in case and practice putting them on your car before you actually have to use them. PBOT sometimes requires chains or traction devices on West Burnside and SW Sam Jackson Parkway.

No matter what, don’t abandon your vehicle. It prevents crews from clearing the road and emergency services from getting to the people who need them. If you choose to drive, stay with your vehicle in a snow and ice storm. Any abandoned vehicle may be cited and impounded. To locate your vehicle, call Police Auto Records at 50 -823-0044. If you are driving and visibility and conditions are getting worse rapidly, do not stop in a travel lane. Any vehicle creating a safety hazard is subject to towing. The current contractual cost of a tow is $168. The cost to store a towed vehicle past the initial four hours is $25 per day.

If you get stuck in snow, do not spin your tires because it will dig you in deeper. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel, or de-icing granules in the path of the wheels to help get traction. Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going. Make sure to keep your lights on to increase your visibility and don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.

Black ice is hard to see and very dangerous. Black ice can form when roadways are not in direct sunlight during freezing temperatures. Use caution when driving in shaded areas, on bridges and overpasses, and on less traveled roads.

Finally, have an emergency kit in your vehicle to keep you safe and more comfortable during long waits. Your kit should have chains, shovel, a bag of sand, battery jumper cables, first aid kit, basic tools, a blanket, extra clothing, flashlight, and a cell phone or CB Radio.