News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Winter driving conditions have arrived

Severe winter weather arrived early in Sisters Country last week, bringing with it hazardous driving conditions.

There were multiple slide-offs on Camp Polk Road north of Sisters and spinouts in the roundabout and on intersections with sharp turns. A Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office sergeant averted a near-tragedy east of Sisters in Tumalo (see related story page 3).

Traction tires and all-wheel or four-wheel drive can only marginally improve your chances on the roads when they’re slick with snow and ice. Four-wheel drive does not equate to “four-wheel stop”; increase your following distance and above all, slow down.

Even when the temperatures rise, icy conditions can persist on shaded curves and over bridges.

Twilight falls early over Sisters Country — right on time for most people’s commute home from work. At this time of year, pedestrians are especially hard to spot. Shoppers rushing home with their treasures are especially vulnerable on Sisters’ streets. It is often difficult to discern pedestrians even in a crosswalk at this time of year, and there have been incidents in the past of pedestrians being hit while crossing Cascade Avenue.

Residential streets can be even darker.

While pedestrians have the right-of-way, it is wise for those on foot to exercise extra caution. Don’t assume that because you can see an oncoming car that the driver can see you. If you’re wearing dark clothing, you may be all but invisible, even in a crosswalk or under streetlights.

Carry a flashlight and stay alert to your surroundings. Distracted walking can be almost as dangerous as distracted driving.

Some precautions when driving boost your chances of getting to your destination whole and hearty.

•?On the ice: At 30 degrees ice is twice as slippery as it is at 0 degrees. It forms first and lasts longer on bridges and in the shade. If you hit an unexpected patch, don’t try to brake, accelerate or downshift. Let up on your accelerator and let your vehicle roll through the slippery area.

•?Skidding: If you go into a skid, act quickly by taking your foot off the accelerator. Keep your foot off the brake and steer in the direction the rear of the vehicle is skidding. Use a light touch.

•?Braking: Brake SMOOTHLY!

•?Chaining up: Put your chains on in a place where you will be safe, and not a hazard to others.

•?Dead batteries: When jumping batteries connect one cable to the (+) terminal of each battery. Then connect one end of the second cable to the (-) terminal of the booster battery and the other end to a nut or bolt on the engine. Do not connect it to the (-) of the discharged battery.

Start the engine of the helper vehicle and let it run a few minutes, then start the disabled vehicle engine. Remove cables in the exact REVERSE order.

•?Stay clear of plows and sanders: Slow down. Plows and sanders will pull over periodically to let traffic pass.

•?Stay in line when traveling to or from a snow zone. Don’t blaze your own trail, especially going downhill.

•?Clear all windows of snow, ice or fog before starting out. Also clear any snow off the hood - it comes loose when driving.

•?Dirty headlights can cut visibility by 50 percent or more. Keep all lenses free of dirt.

•?Tires need adequate tread for traction in snow and to reduce the risk of hydroplaning in rain or puddles on the road.

•?Following distance: Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice.

If conditions are too harsh, and beyond your abilities, stay home till they improve.


Reader Comments(0)