Over The River and Through the Woods – Safe Travel Suggestions

During the holiday season, many Oregon families will be driving long distances over busy, wet, and slippery highways to celebrate with loved ones.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Oregon State Police (OSP) during the holiday season more motorists are involved in motor vehicle collisions resulting in injury and death than during other times of the year.

OSP and ODOT encourage all motorists to be sure and wear seat belts. These agencies also remind travelers to be prepared for winter road conditions, drive carefully, and stay alert and sober while driving. Police officers will be saturating Oregon roads and teaming up with other traffic enforcement efforts nationwide to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths.

“No one wants to start the holidays off down the wrong road by causing a collision or getting a ticket,” said Captain Mike Dingeman, director of the OSP Patrol Services Division. “Save a life and save your money. Drive carefully, alert and sober, and buckle up every time on the road, day or night.”
“Sadly, the holidays, which for many are the happiest time of year, is also one of the deadliest and tragic,” said Dingeman.

ODOT reminds travelers to use TripCheck.com (or call 5-1-1) for the latest road conditions and follow these important safety tips:

Getting Ready for the Trip

  • Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination.
  • Stay informed about weather conditions, potential traffic hazards and highway closures.
  • Check road conditions by visiting http://www.TripCheck.com
    or calling 5-1-1.
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving starting with good tires, a good battery, and a full tank of gas.
  • Carry an emergency kit and chains or traction tires, especially if traveling over mountain passes.
  • Snacks and bottled water also are a good idea for long trips, especially with children.
  • Carry a map in case weather or road conditions force you to take a detour. Keep family members or friends aware of any significant changes in your planned route before you take the unplanned route.
  • Get plenty of rest before you leave on any trip.
  • Clear snow, ice or frost from windows and headlights before you leave.
  • Make sure everyone is using safety restraints and secure any cargo.
  • Always have a designated driver for any holiday activities that include alcohol.

On the Road:

  • Drive according to conditions. If it’s wet, icy, snowy, or foggy, slow down and increase your following distance behind other vehicles to at least a four-second distance. Keep in mind that conditions may not be perfect to drive at the posted speed.
  • Use headlights, even in daylight, to help other drivers see you.
  • Don’t use cruise control in wet, icy, snowy, or foggy conditions.
  • Be patient with all the other traffic on the highways.
  • Watch out for pedestrians now that the days are shorter and darker, and remember they’re often in dark clothing.
  • If you get tired or drowsy, stop and rest during your trip or get a rested and sober licensed driver behind the wheel.
  • There are still many construction zones on our highways, and even though work will be inactive over the holiday weekend there may be equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway. Stay alert and slow down because all work zone speed limits still apply and fines increase in these areas.
  • Don’t drink and drive or get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.