Winter Travel Safety

With Winter Break right around the corner, some of us may be driving for hours at a time through dangerous winter weather conditions.

As the Rogue Valley transitions into colder weather, those planning to drive across dangerous parts of the area may want to check their routes. According to the National Weather Service station in Medford, winter conditions may strongly impact routes along the following: HWY’s 140, 138, 62, and 97, parts of I5 along the Cascades and Siskiyou, as well as Diamond and Crater Lake. Additionally, some mountain passes in the area may become impassable.

While it is too early to accurately forecast conditions around Winter Break, you can prepare now for any possibly dangerous conditions.

APD Chief Tighe O’Meara shared some general guidance on what to do to prepare and deal with getting stuck in a winter storm.

“Travelling during inclement weather, you should have enough supplies in your car to last you for several hours. Stay warm, stay fed, stay hydrated.”

Aside from stocking up on blankets, medication, food, and water, there’s little else to do to prep other than checking the weather along your route. Even so, it’s possible to get trapped in a winter storm out on the road. “At some point, you may have to make the decision that you’re turning back, that you may have to pull in somewhere that is not your destination to wait for everything to pass.”, said Chief O’Meara. If so, it would be a very good idea to have the “essentials” with you, not only for safety, but to make a several hour wait on I5 in the snow a little more bearable.

Furthermore, you don’t have to get stuck in a blizzard to experience the dangers of winter weather. Icy roadways, black ice, and low visibility are all major risk factors when driving in inclement weather. “Take everything very slow, prepare for long stopping distances, prepare for the wheels to lock up, not every car has ABS and if you do it doesn’t mean you’ll stop faster, everything takes longer, it takes longer to get going, it takes longer to slow down.”, warned O’Meara . Of course, no one should necessarily stay off the roads, or that everyone needs to reconsider their driving plan’s – just be a little bit more prepared when you do so.

“Everyone needs to slow down and take their time. Its better to arrive late than not at all.”. For those planning on traveling this holiday season, stay safe, and to all, happy holidays.

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