Travelers are receiving some of the worst from Mother Nature today as heavy rain and standing water, along with high winds, are making it challenging on area roadways. Continued heavy rain and high winds are in the forecast, which will likely create driving problems for area travelers along the Oregon Coast, in the Willamette Valley and at the higher elevations of the Coast Range and Cascades.
ODOT is already reporting that numerous state highways in Clatsop, Tillamook, Marion, Yamhill and western Washington Counties have areas of standing high water because of the heavy rainfall. Some of these areas include the intersection of OR 6 (Wilson River Highway) and OR 47; U.S. 101 just south of Seaside; OR 18 in McMinnville; the intersection of OR 18 and OR 153; and U.S. 101 in Tillamook.
Roadways that are more susceptible to high standing water are low lying areas that often flood during high tides (U.S. 101) and where rivers flow such as the Wilson River in Tillamook.
Forecasters are predicting several strong storms that will likely effect travel throughout Northwest Oregon. Travelers should be prepared for high water and flooding, and debris and downed trees on area highways. Heavy rain often means 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:
* Slow down, especially through high water.Driving through several inches of water at high speed can cause you to lose control of the car; it could also splash water into the engine and stall it. Lowering your speed helps you prepare for sudden stops caused by disabled cars, debris and other wet-weather hazards.
* Keep your distance. A car needs two to three times more stopping distance on wet roads.
* Turn on your headlights to improve visibility. Use your low beams!
* DON’T USE YOUR CRUISE CONTROL!
* Allow more time to reach your destination. In severe weather, closures and crashes can cause long delays.
* Hydroplaning occurs when your front tires ride on a film of water. It can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles per hour, especially if tires are worn. If you hydroplane, ease off the gas, gently apply the brakes and steer straight ahead.
High winds may also bring down trees and power lines. Motorists should be alert to changing driving conditions and plan on delays due to down trees or power lines.
* Plan ahead by leaving extra time when driving in heavy rain and windy conditions. Visit www.tripcheck.com or dial 511 for the latest information travel conditions and road closures.