Gravel roadways are typical in Oregon’s rural and logging areas, and pose additional hazards compared to paved roadways. Stopping or turning on loose gravel is difficult because of reduced tire traction. A “washboard” effect can also occur on gravel roads. This is a series of potholes that can affect steering and vehicle control, and can literally shake up the vehicle and it's occupants.
When driving on gravel, you should slow down since it will take much longer to stop and it is easier to skid and slide when turning and braking. During dry periods of the year, gravel roads can also become extremely dusty, which reduces visibility. Unsignaled Intersections
Unsignaled intersections or those without a traffic light pose problems for all drivers. Vehicles that are stopping or slowing to turn create differences in speed that are often hard for drivers to judge. In addition, these roadways often carry vehicles traveling at high speeds. When entering an uncontrolled intersection slow down, prepare to yield, and look both ways before proceeding. In addition, know who goes first; yield to all pedestrians; and give way to emergency vehicles. Slow-Moving Vehicles
It is common to encounter slow-moving vehicles on rural roads, such as farm and road maintenance equipment. It is important to identify these vehicles early and slow down when meeting them or coming up behind. Slow-moving equipment may make wide turns, either left or right at unmarked entrances. Some farm equipment may be wider than the lane or road itself. Make sure that the driver of the slow-moving vehicle can see your vehicle before passing, and always use extreme caution while they are present.
Be especially alert for bicyclists which often use rural roadways. They are narrower than cars and harder to see. Use caution when passing them and avoid spraying them with road debris. Bicyclists should drive with traffic and wear clothing that is visible at night and during the day.
It is not uncommon in Oregon to encounter narrow and even single-lane bridges. Use caution and only cross when there is no oncoming traffic or approaching vehicles are stopped and waiting for you to cross. Do not just assume that there is room for two vehicles or that you automatically have the right-of-way.
You may encounter cattle, horses and other domesticated animals while traveling on rural roads. Give them a wide berth and be patient as they are guided across the roadway by their handlers. Also, be careful not to spook them by honking or yelling. This will usually just make matters worse.
Drivers are at greatest risk for wildlife crashes at sunrise and sunset. Deer are by far the highest cause of animal-related automobile crashes. October and November are the peak months for deer crashes. If an animal is spotted, slow down and be prepared to stop. If there is not time to stop or avoid the animal, do not swerve sharply. A driver’s chance of getting seriously hurt are decreased if they hit the animal and avoid swerving into oncoming traffic or rolling the vehicle over into a ditch or waterway. Remember that deer travel in groups, so always look for more animals once one is spotted.