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Grant Funds to Put More Troopers on Mountain Passes this Winter
Sergeant Alan Hageman
Patrol Services Division
Office: (503) 934-0268

Oregon's weather can change quickly and without warning. During the winter, conditions hit early and often cause problems for many travelers who are either ill-prepared or do not follow driving safety tips and Oregon chain up laws. To help emphasize the importance of being prepared and complying with traffic laws, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has again provided overtime funding for enforcement to put more Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers on selected mountain passes this winter.
Chain Up Grant Targets Mountain Passes
OSP chain enforcement efforts received a grant from ODOT's Transportation Safety Division to provide more than 500 hours of overtime enforcement in 12 selected mountain passes. Every winter, interstate and state highway mountain passes see numerous motor vehicle crashes resulting in many injuries and deaths. Traffic often backs up, creating even more dangerous driving conditions. In many cases, these crashes are associated with excessive speed and lack of required chain equipment, or in the case of passenger vehicles, the appropriate tires and traction devices.

"We can't emphasize enough the importance of being prepared for upcoming driving challenges by having the appropriate chain equipment and tires, as well as driving safely at all times as dictated by the road and weather conditions," said Sergeant Alan Hageman of the OSP Patrol Services Division. "The overtime grant funds will be put to good use putting more troopers in these areas when needed throughout the winter."

Mountain pass areas targeted for the extra enforcement using provided grant funds are:
  • Interstate 5 - Siskiyou Summit
  • Interstate 5 - Sexton Mountain (between Roseburg and Grants Pass)
  • Interstate 84 - Cabbage Hill
  • Interstate 84 - Ladd Canyon
  • Interstate 84 - Three Mile Hill (between Huntington and Ontario)
  • Interstate 84 – Weatherby (between Baker City and Huntington)
  • Highway 58 - Willamette Pass
  • Highway 20 - Santiam Pass
  • Highway 26 - Mt. Hood Pass
  • Highway 97 - Spring Creek
  • Highway 140W - Doak Mountain
  • Highway 140W - Seldom Hill

"These problematic mountain passes were selected during the last couple years and are targeted again this year because they have been plagued by crashes during the winter months," said Sergeant Hageman. "Having the right size and number of chains required, and the appropriate tires on your vehicle when traveling where they may be required, is good for you and other drivers."
A publication released by the Governor's Transportation/Tourism Task Force titled the "Oregon Winter Driving Guide" is available to help motorists safely navigate the roads this winter and includes information on Oregon's tire chain laws, tips for driving in icy or snowy conditions, and a checklist of equipment for roadside emergencies. The free guide is available at visitor information centers and convention bureaus, welcome centers and information kiosks, Les Schwab Tire Centers, Department of Transportation offices, and from members of the Oregon Lodging Association. The guide is also available online at tripcheck.com, traveloregon.com, oregontic.com, oregonlodging.com, and on the OSP website at:

Oregon State Police and ODOT suggest the following tips on chaining up and driving with chains:
  • Check your vehicle operator's manual for the right type and size of chains to use. If your manufacturer recommends not using chains, check with your auto dealership about traction tire/device alternatives.
  • Ensure chains are the proper size, and don't deflate tires to install chains.
  • Practice installing your chains before you leave home, not on the side of the road when you need them.
  • Don't wait until you lose control before chaining up your vehicle.
  • Pull over to a safe and level area to install or remove chains.
  • Don't lie with your legs pointed toward the travel lane to install or remove chains.
  • After you have installed your chains, drive for a short distance and then stop in safe place to retighten chains.
  • Pull over and stop immediately if any part of a tire chain fails or comes loose.
  • Don't drive faster than 30 miles per hour when using chains. Speed up and slow down slowly. Avoid spinning or locking your wheels.
  • Remember: you can slide even with chains, so drive carefully and slowly. It's the Way to Go!
Road condition information is also available at www.tripcheck.com
and in Oregon by calling 5-1-1 or (800) 977-ODOT (6368). This information is also available when calling from outside Oregon at (503) 588-2941. Reports are available 24 hours a day.