Where can I find information about winter driving
www.Tripcheck.com. Hover over the "Road & Weather" tab at the top of the screen. Then move down to "Winter Travel" to pull up a menu of related items. Find travel tips in our
winter travel guide
When can I use studded tires on my car?
Oregon law allows the use of studded tires between Nov. 1 and March 31, but these dates may be adjusted by ODOT in order to protect the highway and the safety of travelers. If the dates are adjusted we will notify the public and post information on TripCheck.com and this website.
Do I have to use chains if I’m driving an all-or-four wheel drive vehicle?
If signs are requiring the use of chains, you may proceed in a four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle if the vehicle meets all of the followings:
- It has an unloaded weight of 6,500 pounds or less;
- It is operated to provide power to both the front and rear wheels;
- It is carrying tire chains;
- It has mud and snow, all-weather radial, or traction tires on all of its wheels;
- It is not towing another vehicle or a trailer;
- It is not being operated in a manner or under conditions that cause the vehicle to lose traction.
However, in very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used (this is known as a conditional road closure). A conditional road closure may occur on any of Oregon's highways and are frequent in the winter on Interstate 5 through the Siskiyou Pass south of Ashland.
Some owner’s manuals say tire chains cannot be used and others say chains are not recommended. What happens when chains are required?
First, “chains” are defined as link chains, cable chains, or any other devices that attaches to the wheel, vehicle or outside of the tire that is specifically designed to increase traction in snow and ice. Carefully re-read the owner’s manual. While some manuals say chains cannot be used, others may recommend use of chains specifically designed for limited clearance vehicles. We recommend checking with your auto dealer or your local tire store. They may be able to suggest alternatives to traditional tire chains that are suitable for your vehicle.
If chains are required, and you don’t have them on your vehicle, you are subject to a class C traffic violation. Not using chains or traction tires when signs require them could result in a specific fine traffic violation with a penalty of $880. For more information about driving in snow zones and winter driving in general, visit www.TripCheck.com.
Does ODOT have workers on the mountain passes to put chains on cars?
No, ODOT does not have workers in mountain passes to put chains on cars. However, there may be people at some mountain passes who will do it for a fee. This service may not be available at all mountain passes or at all times of the day. Typically they give priority to commercial trucks before they serve private vehicles. It is best to be prepared by
making sure you know how to put on and take off your tire chains before you leave.
Sometimes TripCheck snow zones are at the “Carry Chains or Traction Tires” status, but there is a Severe Weather Warning posted. What’s the difference?
Road conditions posted on TripCheck are real-time current conditions. So even though a storm may be predicted, road conditions may not require the use of chains or traction tires at the moment (remember: if “Carry Tire Chains or Traction Tires” signs are posted, the law requires you to have these devices in your vehicle). A Severe Weather Warning means the National Weather Service has issued a warning about an incoming storm. If the storm affects road conditions, the TripCheck road condition report will update to reflect new requirements. We recommend reviewing the road conditions on www.TripCheck.com before you leave. Once you’re on your way, you can call 511 for the most current conditions.
Are fabric tire covers/socks allowed?
For vehicles that cannot be fitted with tire chains, a potential option is one of the fabric cover products — sometimes called “snow socks” — that slip over your tires. These are an option if you need temporary traction to get out of a snowy spot. They are only intended for short stretches of road in adverse conditions.