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Frequently Asked Questions

Every year, we are asked thousands of questions about ODOT operations, road conditions, safe driving practices and motor vehicle laws. Most of those questions are very specific – about a certain incident or specific law, but some of the questions are more general in nature and are asked frequently. We suggest you look through these questions. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, please call 1-888-275-6368 and choose option 6 or email us (

​Who owns the road?

The Oregon Department of Transportation is responsible for state and interstate highways within Oregon. The U.S. Forest Service builds and maintains roads through federal forestlands and the Bureau of Land Management maintains highways on its federally-owned property. All other roads and streets are the responsibility of either local county or city governments.
How can you tell the difference?
If you are traveling a highway marked with a shield like those below, the Oregon Department of Transportation usually has jurisdiction over the highway:
Examples of highway shields

Sometimes, however, portions of state and federal highways that run through cities are maintained by city street departments. Streets within the boundaries of an incorporated city are generally the responsibility of a city public works department.
For maps, highway inventory information and other data about specific roads visit our Road Assets and Mileage page.

Where can I find information about winter driving

Visit 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 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

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 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.

​The decision to fix a pothole temporarily or permanently generally depends on the time of year. The preferred method of fixing a pothole is to fill it with "hot mix" — heated asphalt — then compact the mixture with a powered roller and seal the edges with hot oil. This should keep the pothole patched until the highway is repaved at some point in the future. The problem is, in order for the hot mix to stick to the surrounding pavement, the pavement and the subsurface beneath the pavement has to be completely dry. If there’s moisture in the pothole, the material will break down and the patch will fail. So, during the rainy/snow season, crews will use "cold mix" to patch potholes. This material is a rock/oil mixture that is placed in the pothole cold and simply tamped down. It is a very temporary fix. In fact, on busier highways, cold mix patches may have to be redone several times a winter. The object of cold mix patches is to keep "something" in the hole until drier weather arrives and the pothole can be repaired permanently.​

​What type of vehicle requires a commercial driver license? Also, what are the requirements for obtaining a CDL?

Drivers transporting passengers on highways or premises open to the public in Oregon must have a CDL is they are transporting more than 16 passengers. A CDL also is required if the gross vehicle weight or gross vehicle weight rating is greater than 26,000 pounds or the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials. More information about commercial driver license and the process for getting an Oregon CDL are available on the DMV website.

Who do I call with questions about purchasing an over-dimensional permit?

You can call the Commerce and Compliance Division (CCD) Over-Dimension Permit Unit at 503-373-0000.

How can I report an unsafe tractor-trailer that’s being used by a trucking company?

You may report this to the Truck Safety Hotline at 1-800-248-6782. This is a 24/7 number which will automatically take the information and forward it to the Commerce and Compliance Safety Section. During regular business hours call 503-378-6963 or fill out an online form.​

How is the transportation system funded?

The main source of money for enhancing and maintaining highways in Oregon is the state Highway Fund. The Oregon Constitution limits the use of money in the Highway Fund to “the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, maintenance, operation and use of public highways, roads, streets, and roadside rest areas in this state…” Money flows into the fund from a number of sources, including gasoline tax, weight-mile taxes on commercial trucks, vehicle titling and registration fees and driver licensing fees. Oregon also receives money for highways from the federal government. Read more about the ODOT budget and revenue sources.

Learn about the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program​.

How are speed limits set?

Oregon law gives the state Department of Transportation the authority to establish speed limits on interstate, federal and state highways, county roads and city streets. Local road authorities such as county or city governments can request ODOT to change the speed limits on state highways, county roads or city streets. Before acting on the request, ODOT must conduct a speed zone study to determine if traffic conditions warrant a change in the speed limit. Learn more about speed zones and limits​.

Are construction zones in effect even when there doesn’t seem to be any construction activity going on?

Yes. Even though there may not be workers and equipment at the site, there may be pavement or lane changes that require you to slow down for safety reasons. Some projects remain active year-round. So if you see construction signs and cones, slow down and obey the speed limit. Remember, traffic fines double in construction zones!

A school in my neighborhood has blinking yellow lights that seem to be on even when there aren’t any children near the crosswalks. Do I still have to slow down?

Yes, Remember traffic fines double in school and construction zones. There are three types of signs in school zones. They read as follows:

  • School: Speed Limit 20 MPH when children are present.
  • School: Speed Limit 20 MPH from (with a specified time frame).
  • School: Speed Limit 20 mph when lights are flashing.

In the last type of school zone, if the lights are flashing, the 20 mile-per-hour limit is in effect, whether children are actually near the crosswalk or not. Remember, traffic fines double in school and construction zones.

​I’ve heard about the “Move It” law, but I don’t know what it means.

Oregon’s “Move It” law (ORS 811.717) requires you to move your vehicle from the highway in a non-injury crash if your vehicle is operable and it is safe to move it. Then you can exchange information with others involved and witnesses.

How do I comply with the “Move It” law?

It’s as easy at 1 – 2 – 3.

  1. Check for injuries. If there are injuries, you are not required to move your vehicle. Call 911.
  2. Move it. If there are no injuries and the vehicle is operable, move the vehicle off the highway to a shoulder or parking area.
  3. Report the crash. Notify the appropriate authorities if required. Exchange information with the others involved. Fill out an “Oreg​on Traffic Accident and Insurance Report” and file it with DMV. Visit the DMV website for a list of your responsibilities in the event of a crash.

Can I cut firewood from the piles of trees I see along state highways?

No. Safety is a major concern because vehicles parked along a highway present a hazard to other drivers. ODOT crews need to remove the trees, and are required to dispose of the wood in accordance with rules and policies. When a tree is suitable as firewood, it may be donated to a local non-profit organization. If the type of wood is not suitable for firewood, the wood may be chipped into mulch for erosion protection, or it may be used by ODFW or other government agencies for fish and wildlife habitat or environmental restoration. In the event ODOT hired a contractor, typically the contractor owns the wood that is removed.


How does ODOT choose which highways, and how often, to repaint traffic stripes?

Lane striping paint is, in the scheme of things, a short-lived product. No matter what quality of paint we buy, it has a short lifetime. Even the newer thermoplastic products can only be expected to last 3-4 years. That’s understandable, since lane stripes have to withstand rain, snow, sun, sanding material, de-icing chemicals and wear from car and truck tires plus studs, chains and snowplows. ODOT is responsible for about 19,000 lane miles of highways statewide and ODOT restripes about 13,000 lane miles each year. Those miles include solid center lines, dashed “skip” lines and white fog lines. 

How do I avoid getting paint on my car when I’m following an ODOT paint striping crew?

 Striping crews normally consist of an advance truck, the paint truck, and two or three “shadow vehicles” following the paint truck. The “shadow vehicles” follow far enough behind the paint truck that the paint should be set up by the time they pass. If you want to stay safe from paint splash, stay behind the shadow vehicles. Striping crews travel slowly at 15-20 miles an hour. As this causes traffic to back up, impatient drivers sometimes attempt to pass the striping crew and end up with paint on their vehicles. If you do get paint on your vehicle, follow the instructions below.

I got striping paint on my truck. How can I get it off?

One of our major suppliers of striping paint recommends the following procedure for removing paint from vehicles:

Do not scrub the finish with a solvent or scouring cleanser. This will damage the finish.

As soon as possible after getting paint from road stripes on a vehicle, wash the vehicle at a pressure car wash. This will loosen most of the paint unless it has dried for more than a day.

If the car wash does not remove the paint, allow the water to dry off the vehicle. Spray the paint residue with WD-40® and allow the WD-40® to stay on the area for 1 to 2 hours and rewash the vehicle. The WD-40® will soften the traffic paint without hurting the vehicle finish. If there is a heavy concentration, repeat the procedure.

For heavy accumulations or paint that has dried for several days, apply a liberal coating of petroleum jelly to the dried traffic paint and allow it to stay on overnight. Take the vehicle to a pressure car wash and wash it. This should remove most of the traffic paint. If not, repeat the procedure.

After cleaning the paint away, apply a good wax to the vehicle’s finish. Wax should remove any lasting signs of the traffic paint.

Wheel wells are very difficult to remove paint from since they are normally lined with a flat finish paint. Apply a liberal coat of petroleum jelly to the area and leave for several days then pressure wash. Applying rubbing alcohol to the wheel well will help to soften any residue left after the petroleum jelly. Again, do not scrub. Just apply with a saturated rag or sponge.

How can I report a train that’s been blocking a crossing for a long time?

Federal law doesn't allow the state to control rail crossings that are blocked by trains.

For issues regarding highway-rail crossing blockages, please contact the railroad directly. To identify the operating railroad in your area, refer to the State Rail System Map. Telephone numbers can be found on the list of railroads operating in Oregon.

If you have any questions about highway-rail crossings, please contact us at 503-986-​4321.

What are the rules about signs next to the highway?

Political signs are allowed on private property within view of state highways, with a variance from our Oregon Advertising Sign Program. 

Can I put a sign in the highway right-of-way?
No. Signs are not allowed in the state highway right-of-way. This includes those defined as temporary. Any sign placed in highway right-of-way is done so illegally. Official highway signs are excluded from this rule.

Where can I find my signs removed by ODOT?
Wrongly placed signs will be taken down and held at a nearby ODOT district maintenance office for 30 days. To reclaim signs, go here​ to find the nearest ODOT Maintenance District office.

For information on Outdoor Advertising Sign variances, please contact us at or visit the Outdoor Advertising Sign page

How do I find information about road conditions from inside Oregon?

Visit or call 1-800-977-6368. If you're outside Oregon call 503-588-2941. You can also call 511 for travel information.

Can I get weather information on Tripcheck?

That’s a definite “yes.” Here’s how you do it: Go to the website. Hover over the "Road & Weather" tab and move down the menu to "Weather Outlook." You will be given the choice of looking at a particular region or the state as a whole. Once you make a selection, you will be taken to a map that is divided into sections. Click on a section to receive the latest area forecasts from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA. You will also see any weather advisories or warnings for the area. Forecasts are updated when new information is received from the weather bureau. Always keep in mind that these are forecasts! The weather is subject to change quickly—especially in the mountain passes—so check before you go!  

Do you keep copies of the images captured on your traffic cameras?


Who is responsible for maintaining the various streets and roads in Oregon?

Streets, roads and highways are maintained by state, county, and local agencies. We have a map that displays the various jurisdictions.

Is there a lost and found for rest areas?

Look on for the list of Oregon Rest Areas​. Scroll down to the description text box. Contact Oregon Travel Information Council or Oregon Parks and Recreation as listed. If there is no owner listed, ODOT owns the rest area, call us and we'll ask our crews if they found anything. 

Is the yellow signal clearance time adjusted correctly?

This question is often related to red light traffic cameras and tickets. As you passed through an intersection at which a red light running camera is installed, did the amount of time allotted for the yellow change interval seem too short? The fact is the yellow light change interval, also known as yellow clearance time, is not meant to clear vehicles through the intersection. Based on Oregon law and parameters such as how long a vehicle takes to come to a stop, the yellow light is timed to give drivers warning that the signal is about to turn red so they can come to a stop. Also, drivers who are shown a green light are required to yield to anyone already in the intersection. It's not perfect, but what system dependent on human behavior can be? If you are thinking about contesting the ticket in court, we recommend you contact the local police department. ODOT has already confirmed that signals in intersections with red light traffic cameras meet all timing and intersection standards. ODOT provided the information to police departments that operate red light cameras. ODOT does not own, operate or receive revenues from red light camera systems. For details on how they operate, we encourage you to contact the local police department.

What are the requirements to install a speed bump on a city street? Is there anything that requires a certain length or grade to a speed bump?

According to ODOT’s Traffic Section, there are no federal or state standards for speed humps. Setting the specifications for these devices is left up to county and city road authorities. There are federal specifications for signing for areas where speed humps have been installed. These specifications are in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices​, or MUTCD. Here’s a link to the MUTCD website.

How can I get a crosswalk put on a state highway?

The protocol for establishing a crosswalk on a state highway depends on the type of highway, the location of the proposed crosswalk and the traffic volume. Please share your traffic suggestions with Ask ODOT. We will submit them to the local traffic engineer for investigation and review. You will receive their decision, but keep in mind we may not have the funding to make the change.

Who do I contact for more information about the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Visit our Adopt-a-Highway program web page for information about participating in the program including noxious weed removal, adopt-a-landscape and a list of local contacts.

How can I sign up my teenager for the summer Youth Litter Patrol program?

ODOT usually starts recruiting for the summer Youth Litter Patrol in March. Crew members must be at least 16 years old. Applicants must also pass a criminal background check and have a valid Oregon Driver License with an acceptable driving record.​ All litter patrol workers must have a basic knowledge of spoken and written English, the ability to pick up and bag litter along highways, lift and carry filled bags, work in all types of conditions and work in a safe manner along highways with varying levels of traffic. For more information go to and enter the keyword “Litter.”

How do I file a damage claim?

Instructions, contact information and online damage claim forms are available on the Department of Administrative Services, Risk Management, Claims Overview websiteIf you have detailed questions about the claim process you may reach them at 503-373-7475 or send an email.​

The state is a self-insured public entity and provides liability and restoration insurance coverage through DAS Risk Management insurance fund. Claims Management investigates, evaluates and resolves claims for damage to state property and for loss or injury to the public arising out of state activities. Please note, the completed forms should be submitted directly to DAS Risk Management​ (information is on the form). 

Where do I file a complaint about a state employee's driving or possible misuse of a state vehicle?

Report a state driver, vehicle possible misuse through DAS Risk Management.  If you have questions or need assistance, please call  503-373-7475.

How do I pay for damage done to a state highway or property?

If you or your insured has caused damage to ODOT property (e.g. state signs, traffic signals, guardrail, etc.), call the ODOT Statewide Claims Against Others department (503) 931-7130 or send an email​. Please include all your contact information, location of the damaged property, police report number (if applicable), and the date and time of the incident. 

​How do I order one state map?

Contact Ask ODOT to request up to 12 maps. Please include the quantity you need and your mailing address.

How do I order state maps in bulk?

Send an email to our Maps and GIS team. Please include the quantity you need and your mailing address.

Where can I find electronic maps, GIS data and other resources?

Visit our maps web page​. We produce a variety of maps and products.

​How do I sign up for email alerts for bid notices, news releases, commission meetings and more?  

You can customize, change or end subscription at any time. Sign up for email updates through GovDelivery​.