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Useful tips for safe driving in winter conditions

Snowy road in Washington.jpg
Snowy road in Washington - KATU photo

PORTLAND, Ore. – Although de-icing crews are busy on the roads during Tuesday’s snowstorm, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for the worst with your own vehicle.

It’s always a good idea to pack extra warm clothes in your car in case you slide off the road and get stuck waiting for a tow truck.

You should also have chains in your car. Snow in the Pacific Northwest is wet and slippery and sometimes normal tires don’t stand a chance at gaining traction.

If you pack chains, make sure you practice putting them on at home so you do it correctly when it matters most.

It’s also useful to have an emergency kit with you that has extra food and water. Sometimes snacks can help get you through an extra-long wait in traffic.

The Oregon Department of Transportation recommends giving plenty of room for maintenance trucks on the roads. This includes plows, sanders, de-icers and salt trucks. Their job is to treat as many lanes as they can, which is nearly impossible in gridlock positions.

ODOT also says don't abandon your vehicle if you slide off the road or get stuck. Help is on the way and abandoned vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.

All these things will help keep you safe on the road, but sometimes the safest decision is to stay home and avoid the dangerous driving conditions.