News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

ODOT crews ask for help from drivers

Many holiday travelers will flock to the roads this weekend for Thanksgiving, and wet, snowy weather could gobble up your plans if you aren’t prepared. Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) crews are working through the feasting to keep your travels safe, but we could use your help. 

If there’s snow or a crash, ODOT’s continuing staffing shortages mean it will take more time to clear roads. 

“We’re working to fill current vacant positions, but drivers should expect less snow plowing,” ODOT officials said in a press release. “Similar lower levels of service will continue in the years to come without changes to our long-term funding, as we anticipate having fewer staff available.” 

Tips for safe winter travel during the holiday season:

• The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, regardless of conditions. Expect delays, plan ahead, and allow extra travel time.

• Be careful when traveling over mountain passes. Check for road conditions. Many camera displays include temperature and other helpful information.

• Pay attention to roadside message signs. They contain critical information about conditions on the road ahead, like chain requirements. 

• Make sure you’re ready for wintry road conditions. Carry chains and know how to use them. In case of major delays, pack supplies for you and your passengers such as food, water, blankets, warm clothes and medications.

• Drive for conditions. Rain, snow, or extra traffic – slow down and give space for more stopping time, especially if the road is slick.

• Give snowplows extra space and never pass on the right. Be patient. The safest place to be when it’s snowing is behind a plow.

• Make sure there’s a sober, focused and alert driver behind the wheel to help you get to and from your destinations. 

• Be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists who are often less visible in wintery weather. 

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