Snow, slush and ice: Winter driving in Central Oregon can be a challenge. Whether you’re a long time resident or new to the area, each winter storm brings it own challenges.
The weather in Central Oregon can change quickly during the winter months. A sunny winter day can turn into a nasty winter storm with a moment’s notice. Preparation is the key to safe winter driving.
BendBroadband Installer, Josh Adkins, recommends drivers slow down and adapt to the road conditions.
Josh Adkins has been a BendBroadband installer since 2006 and seen his fair share of winter driving. He drives between 2,000 and 3,000 miles each winter season and covers both Bend and Redmond, so Josh is used to both city and highway driving. On an average, BendBroadband’s fleet of 33 installer vans spend 132,000 miles on winter roads between November and March
According to Josh, people overestimate their driving skills and drive too fast. The trip to grandma’s house that can be cleared in 30 minutes during the summer may take an hour of slow driving during a particular bad winter storm.
One of the most common winter driving errors is not understanding what the weather can do to your car’s performance on the road. Ice is the main culprit.
Josh calls it the “slow slide” and has seen it both in city traffic and on the highway. “It’s the slow slide before stopping at an intersection or the fish-tail when you take a sharp curve too aggressively.”
Peter Murphy, is spokesperson for Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Region 4 in Bend. ODOT’s position is that most driver-related accidents, both summer and winter, are related to driver behavior. “Drivers are not driving to fit the weather conditions,” said Murphy.
A good snowfall is not the only reason to drive carefully during the winter months, according to Mr. Murphy. Deceivingly snow-free and dry-looking roads may be covered with black ice other weather-related conditions that make for slick road conditions.
“If you can, delay your trip until the ODOT road crews have cleared the roads from snow, laid down cinder, or used the de-icing trucks,” said Murphy.
Peter Murphy’s top five tips for safe winter driving: “I would say ‘slow down’ on all five points, but you should also add time to your drive and prepare for adverse conditions.”
Share your safe winter driving tips!
Please share your top five winter driving tips by leaving a comment on this post.