Jan 172012

Mandi Smith photo

More snow, strong winds, heavy rain and high water expected

Motorists should use caution driving in adverse weather conditions

Continued heavy snow, rain and high winds forecast for this week may create driving problems for area motorists along the Oregon Coast, in the Willamette Valley and the Coast Range and Cascades.

ODOT is encouraging motorists to be prepared for delays and road closures during the next 48 hours when high winds are forecast. There is also the potential for high standing water caused by expected heavy rains.

In many highway corridors, such as OR 26, OR 18, and OR 126, trees are already laden with snow and the ground is saturated with water. Such conditions could contribute to windfalls if winds reach forecast speeds.

ODOT is currently staging personnel, equipment and electronic reader boards along coastal routes in anticipation of the forecast weather event.

Rain and snow often mean limited visibility, reduced tire traction and less predictable car handling. Drivers should slow down, allow more time to get where they’re going and allow for plenty of distance between cars, which need two or three times more stopping distance on wet roads.

Here are some tips:

If a storm knocks out power to traffic signals, treat intersections like an all-way stop. The driver who stops first goes first.
Beware of high water. Speeding through high water can mean losing control of the car and water can cause loss of function to your vehicle’s brakes and power steering.

Be alert to strategically placed Variable Message Signs alerting motorists to restrictions, closures or other hazards.
Travel with a safety kit that includes a flashlight, cell phone and charger, food, water, extra clothing or blankets, and traction devices.
High winds may also bring down trees and power lines. Motorists should plan on roads being closed due to down trees or power lines. If power lines are down around your vehicle, stay in the vehicle and wait for help.

Plan ahead by leaving extra time when driving in snow, rain and wind conditions. Visit www.tripcheck.com or dial 511 for the latest information travel conditions and road closures.

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