PORTLAND, Ore. - Drivers in Oregon and Washington can put studded tires on their cars starting Friday.
Studded tires are legal November through March, but they can damage highways. Transportation officials encourage folks to consider chains or traction tires without studs. They are considered more effective than all-weather tires on icy roads, but less effective in most other conditions because they may reduce traction.
Also, as state highway crews shift into winter mode, they have a few words of advice for drivers - be prepared and slow down.
"Prepare your car and prepare yourself for the conditions you will be driving into," said Monty Mills, program manager for the Washington State Department of Transportation. "When the temperature drops, drivers all over the state need to be ready. We're working to keep the highways open, but we need drivers' help."
Photo courtesy starshaped on Flickr (Creative Commons).
Winter Driving Tips from WSDOT
- Drive for conditions - slower speeds and slower acceleration.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles do not stop or steer better on ice.
- Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. And remember - the larger the vehicle, the longer the stopping distance.
- Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady spots.
- If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it until it is safe to pass. Remember that a snow plow driver has a limited field of vision. Stay back around 15 car lengths until you are sure it is safe to pass, or until the snow plow pulls off the road.
- On multi-lane roadways, snow plows often need to clear the center and that will throw snow, ice and slush into nearby lanes. If approaching an oncoming snow plow, slow down and give it some extra room.
- Slow down and be extra cautious near the chain-up and removal areas. There are often people out of their vehicles.
Here are some helpful resources as we head into winter driving season:
- Check Road Conditions: TripCheck | TripCheck on Twitter
- 511: You can also get updated reports on driving conditions by highway, mountain pass or major city by calling 511. Most wireless companies in Oregon provide 511 service but if you are unable to use it, you can call 1-800-977-ODOT (6368) for road and weather information. If you are outside Oregon, you can call (503) 588-2941. Report Road Hazards: If you come across a tree that is down, electric wires crossing the road or a landslide, call the nearest ODOT dispatch center:
- Portland metro area, Hood River area: (503) 283-5859
- Mid-Willamette Valley, north coast: (503) 362-0457
- Southern Willamette Valley, south coast: (541) 858-3103
- Central and eastern Oregon: (541) 383-0121
- Check Road Conditions: WSDOT | WSDOT on Twitter
- On the Radio: Preset 530 AM and 1610 AM on your vehicle’s radio before traveling.
- Higher Elevations: Pass Reports