Careful driving necessary to combat Oregon's icy winter road conditions
February 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- On January 7, seven vehicles -- one of them a small bus -- were involved in a series of icy road crashes near just a single intersection in Southwest Portland. Less than two weeks later, roads in Clackamas County were so icy that local law enforcement authorities announced they would not respond to non-injury accidents until conditions improved for fear of endangering police officers. In another Oregon bus crash earlier this winter, a tour bus slipped off the road and tumbled down a steep embankment near Pendleton on Interstate 84, killing nine passengers and injuring at least 36.
Slick, icy road conditions are a risk that Oregon motorists face almost daily during the winter months. Even on days that seem relatively non-threatening, an unexpected patch of black ice on a bridge or overpass can turn a routine drive deadly. But, by adhering to a few seasonal safe driving tips, motorists can prevent the lion's share of icy road crashes.
Parts of a whole: the right gear, the right moves and the right level of awareness
An NFL player wouldn't dream of hitting the gridiron without a functional helmet, pads and cleats; drivers should have a similar mindset. The first step toward safe winter driving is ensuring you have the right equipment.
Drivers should outfit their vehicles for winter with deep-treaded tires, new wiper blades and cold-rated windshield wiper fluid to ensure visibility. Any burnt out exterior bulbs should be replaced as needed. Periodic inspections should also be conducted to remove snow and ice from headlights and to clear any blockage in the windshield washer system.
Of course, the best gear in the world won't win games, and neither will it completely protect drivers; it's also a matter of strategy. When traveling anywhere there could be a potential ice hazard, drivers should slow down, and allow three times the normal stopping distance.
One of the most common (and easiest to avoid) mistakes of icy road driving is incorrect steering; if a slick section of road causes your front tires to lose grip, you should not continuing turning the steering wheel. If you do, it will make no different in the direction of your slide, and when the tires regain grip, your car will speed in whatever direction they are facing, which is often into oncoming traffic. Steering too much while breaking with ABS can cause a similar problem. Remember, if your wheels lose grip or you break heavily, steer with a light touch or not at all.
Finally, it is essential for drivers to be aware of their surroundings. Roadways with no land below them freeze first, and may be coated with black ice even when conditions do not seem threatening elsewhere. Be cautious when approaching bridges, overpasses and elevated roads.
Talk to an Oregon injury attorney if you were hurt by an unsafe driver
You can take many steps to help ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers when traversing Oregon's icy roads -- but you can't control the conduct of other drivers. If someone else has ignored the common safety protocols of safe winter driving and caused you injury as a result, you may be entitled to compensation.
Talk to an Oregon injury attorney to explore your legal options if you've been the victim of an icy road crash.