Winter snow could hamper weekend driving

January 30, 2020                                                                                               R3-04-20

For more information, in Douglas, Coos Curry Counties, contact Gary Warner, 541-817-3456, in Jackson and Josephine Counties, Gary Leaming, 541-621-3074

ROSEBURG / MEDFORD – Winter driving conditions may return to southwest Oregon this weekend as a relatively weak but very cold storm crosses the region.

The National Weather Service is forecasting snow for higher elevations and mountain passes Saturday night. Snow levels are expected to fall to valley floors on Sunday. The shifting weather pattern could also result in black ice on roadways through Monday morning.

ODOT wants travelers to check highway conditions at before starting their trip. Those who do drive should use caution and observe a few common sense rules for navigating hazardous weather conditions:

  • Carry chains and know how to put them on.
  • Know before you go. Plan your route. Let someone know when you’re expected. Stay on state highways. Do not rely on GPS.
  • Carrying an emergency kit that includes supplies of water and food, and blankets. Have a full tank of gas and charge your phone.
  • Get safely situated. Don’t wait until after a storm hits to get on the road. Get to your destination before conditions turn nasty and unsafe.
  • Travel smart. Consider waiting until a storm passes to get on your bike or in your car.
  • Look out for each other. If you must drive, remember cyclists and pedestrians are harder to see in a storm. If you’re biking or walking remember that cars don’t stop quickly on snow and ice.
  • Leave early. It’s smart to allow plenty of time to get where you’re going. In severe weather, closures and crashes can cause long delays.
  • Check on any appointments before you leave. Offices and businesses may close due to the weather.
  • Beware of outages. If a storm knocks out power to traffic signals, treat intersections like an all-way stop. The driver who stops first goes first.
  • Watch for plows. ODOT sand trucks, plows and deicer trucks can’t clear roads clogged with traffic. The more traffic stays off the road, the quicker roads can be treated. Everybody benefits the sooner we can get the road cleared.

ODOT deploys plows, sanders, deicers during winter storms. Salt can be applied on the surface of Interstate 5 if needed. Crews and equipment are in position throughout the region to respond.

Remember, driving on ice and snow pack is never a safe choice. The safest thing to do may be to stay off the road.

ODOT 2019-20 Winter Photos on Flickr