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La Pine RFPD offers winter driving safety tips


With the season’s first significant snowfall on the near horizon – and any day now – local Central Oregon road condition will be hazardous at times. Please review these 10 simple steps to make your winter driving safer.

Note these tips start with the easiest and least costly. The first six cost little or nothing and you can start doing them immediately right now and improve your winter travel greatly!

#1 Slow Down – Simple enough, but really – leave earlier and give your self time to deal with the additional hazards of slick roads and others who have not heeded this advice.

#2 Clear off ALL windows of snow and ice – Yes it’s a pain, but it’s not going to blow or melt off quickly. Keeping a broom near your parking spot makes the job much more palatable.

#3 Headlights on at all times – This helps others see you, so they don’t pull out in front of you.

#4 Adjust your travel time if you can – Fortunately here in Central Oregon the sun can quickly help our DOT folks improve road conditions by mid day. Check ODOTs road condition website and cameras for the latest.

#5 Add weight (a few sand bags) – This is more for balance rather than for traction. Most vehicles are lighter in the rear, even 4x4s’. Balancing weight greatly improves handling and predictability in slick environments. Think what NASCAR racers do to their vehicles.

#6 Have winter survival gear in your car. (flashlight, snow boots, gloves, hat). Be prepared to walk a mile if you need to.

#7 Sipe your tires – Those extra little edges cut into the tread – really help especially on pack snow and ice – conditions when vehicles most often loose control.

#8 Tire chains – For traction when going over the passes and in extreme conditions. They also force you to slow down – go figure.

#9 Snow tires on all four wheels – Help in deeper snow and slush. Put on all four wheels – for balance, steering, and braking.

#10 Studded tires – Adding studs to snow tires can help on hard packed snow and ice, especially if it is glazed and wet.

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