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Summer Storybook

Summer Safety Driving Tips

John Day RiverWe all want to enjoy Oregon’s beautiful summers — safely. Our staff put together some specific safety tips you can share with friends and family, add to community newsletters or use to refresh your own memory of a few certain things we should keep in mind while traveling during the warmer months.

See the Summer News Packet in a PDF.

Know before you go

Get the latest in traveler information

Online: V​​isit, ODOT’s mobile-friendly travel information website​. The site features:

  • Maps updated in real time that display road conditions, color-coded traffic speeds on most roads across the state, trouble spots, weather, construction, maintenance and traffic incidents. You’ll also find high impact incidents prominently displayed as “alerts.”
  • More than 700 images from cameras throughout Oregon as well as southern Washington and northern California.
  • The ability to create and bookmark custom camera pages with up to 10 different cameras for quick checks of specific routes.
  • Links to bus, airport, train, bicycle and trucking information and detailed information on scenic byways, safety rest areas and Sno-Parks.
  • Waze user reports and traffic jams; these are overlaid on the TripCheck map, providing real-time traffic and road conditions from Wazers in the area.
  • “Travel Time,” showing current travel times from key highway connections throughout the Portland metro area.
  • Updated highway closure information.

TripCheck information is also available via Twitter. Visit and click on the Twitter page to learn more. TripCheck TV allows users to create a custom display of road condition information and camera images.

By phone: Call 511. Travelers in Oregon can dial 511 to access the same immediate road and weather information available on TripCheck. (Note: 511 does not have access to Waze data.)
  • You can select updated reports about driving conditions by highway, mountain pass or major city from easy-to-use menus. The 511 system responds to both voice and touch-tone commands.
  • Calls to 511 are local calls when dialed from a land line phone. Mobile phone users are responsible for airtime and roaming charges according to their wireless service contracts, but ODOT does not impose any additional charges.
  • Most wireless companies in Oregon provide 511 service. If you cannot use 511, call toll-free (800) 977-ODOT (6368) for road and weather information. Outside Oregon, dial (503) 588-2941.

Remember, in Oregon, drivers are allowed to use hands-free devices but not texting devices or handheld devices. ODOT encourages motorists to pull off the road and park in a safe area before using mobile devices. 

Report a road hazard
To report road hazards (trees down, electric wires across the road, road blocked by mud or rocks, etc.) call the nearest ODOT dispatch center.

  • Portland metro area, Hood River area: (503) 283-5859
  • Mid-Willamette Valley, north coast: (503) 362-0457
  • Southern Willamette Valley, south coast: (541) 858-3103
  • Central and eastern Oregon: (541) 383-0121

Report a brush fire or wildfire
Reports of fire - whether near the roadway, a burning car, or in a residential area - should always be reported to 911. 

Wazers: We encourage you to submit road hazards, incidents or other related conditions that you experience in order to help others stay safe and mobile.

See where projects are in your area

Check out our project tracker

It’s easy to see how and where Oregon's state and federal transportation funds are spent by local, state and federal agencies using the recently updated ODOT Transportation Project Tracker. This interactive map lets you click, pan and zoom to find projects in your area. Filters allow you to sort by project type, phase and more.

We designed the tracker to show information about the scope, schedule and budget of projects and studies, including projects in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program known as the STIP, ODOT’s four-year capital improvement program. Use it to see what’s happening in your area.

OZoom in to use the search box to find a project. You'll see a brief description and summary of the project. If it's currently under construction, you'll get a link to more information such as traffic impacts, upcoming work and more.

View the ODOT Transportation Project Tracker at​. Detailed information about the data displayed is available on the ODOT website.

What to pack for your summer trip

Be prepared: it could save a life​

While most Oregonians understand that winter driving involves increased risk, many ignore summertime hazards. The Oregon Department of Transportation encourages motorists to prepare their vehicles in advance and put away the distractions, whether you are driving, riding, walking or rolling. Statistics show that June, July and August are consistently among the deadliest months for those using the transportation system; the Independence Day holiday sees more tragedies from crashes than any other holiday in Oregon.

Before you embark on that summer road trip (or even a quick trip to the Oregon Coast or the Cascades), make sure your vehicle is ready:
  • Ensure your A/C is working properly. Lack of air conditioning affects people in poor health or who are sensitive to heat, such as young children, older adults and pets.
  • Test all lights. If you are towing, be sure to check brake lights and signals on your trailer or boat, too. Carry spare light bulbs.
  • Check fluid levels: Radiator, coolant, oil, brake, transmission, power steering and windshield wiper fluid.
  • Check belts and hoses for fittings and conditions. High summer temps increase the rate of degradation, so replace them if they show obvious wear.
  • Ensure tires are in good condition and properly inflated, including your spare. Tires expand in hot weather, increasing your chance of a blowout.
  • Keep an automotive safety kit in your vehicle. Safety kits should include:
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Compass
    • Pocket knife
    • Battery jumper cables
    • Flares
    • Duct tape
    • First aid kit
Summer weather can make for great driving, but it’s also peak vacation and construction season — which means heavy traffic. Pack your patience and remember these summer driving tips:

  • If you’re traveling through a tourist area, be prepared for confused drivers and busy crosswalks. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
  • Drivers aren’t the only ones enjoying our roads during good weather. People ride on motorcycles and bikes; and people walk, roll, run and hike on our system, too. Share the roadway and look out for each other.
  • Watch for motorcycles in the lanes coming toward you and coming in from entrances and exits off the road. Always look twice for them over your shoulder before changing lanes. Keep proper distance between your car and a motorcycle.
  • Stay alert in road construction zones. Slow down, watch for workers and keep your distance from large equipment.
  • Know your route. Some roads, like state highways, are regularly maintained. Others, like forest service roads, are maintained less frequently and may be located in extreme, fire-prone areas.
  • Summer means construction and fire season. Use before you go. There may be condition changes to your normal routes.
  • Be prepared for more traffic when you are traveling the day before, day of, or the day after a major holiday or event.
  • Don’t drive fatigued. Hint: If you can’t remember what landmarks or exits you’ve passed, it’s time to get off the road. Find a cool place where you can safely pull off of the road and rest. You can find rest area locations on

Make sure your vehicle is always stocked with the following:
  • Safety kit.
  • Cell phone and charger.
  • Extra food and water for all passengers (including pets!). Keep an extra gallon of water if you are traveling through a fire-prone area.
  • Tools: Jack, lug wrench and a shovel.
  • Road maps.
  • Hat that provides adequate shade, sunglasses, boots and gloves.
  • Paper towels.
  • Tire pressure gauge.
  • A full fuel tank.

If you’re traveling with an infant or small children, pack extra food, warm-weather clothes, blanket, toys, games and extra diapers - just in case.  Remember to use your child seat properly. Young children may also need more frequent rest stops during summer road trips. Never leave children or pets unattended in your car during breaks. Summer temperatures reach dangerous levels in a matter of minutes. Look before you lock!

Before leaving, tell a family member or friend of your planned route and when you anticipate arriving. Keep them updated on any major route or arrival changes.

How to save on gas

Tips to save $$$

Do you have big plans to travel and experience Oregon’s beauty this summer? Follow these easy tips to ensure an efficient, pleasant trip. 

Plan ahead 
A little bit of preparation can reduce several short trips which can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance. 

For electric vehicle drivers, plan your EV charging stops before you head out. You don’t want to ruin your road trip with a stressful, last-minute charging station search. Websites like and​ can help you decide when and where to charge.

Reduce your idle time
Idling wastes gas and increases carbon emissions – a contributor to air pollution. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. Make sure you’re ready to go before starting your engine. Idling also happens when you’re waiting in traffic. Know before you go to avoid delays, congestion and construction by visiting 

EV drivers don’t need to worry about idling in traffic, but avoid “idling” your EV at a public charging station after it’s finished charging. Other EV drivers may need a charge, so be courteous and move your vehicle out of the dedicated charging space​.

Take it slow and steady
Aggressive driving isn’t just a safety risk – it wastes gas too! Drive sensibly and avoid speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking. Aggressive driving habits can lower your gas mileage by 15-30% or quickly reduce your EV's battery.

Share or rethink your ride
Remember, when it comes to travel in Oregon – you have options. The best way to save on gas is to simply reduce your need for it! 
Check into telecommuting, carpooling, public transit and active transportation like bicycling or walking to save on fuel and car maintenance costs. 

We have bus service in all the major metropolitan areas, and even in some of our smaller communities. Throughout the state, regional bus services offer connections. 
Here are some options:

Summer construction - stay alert

Orange is your clue​

Summer is the ideal time for maintenance on roads, highways, bridges, etc. because it’s Oregon’s driest season. Construction can be inconvenient, especially when you’re running late to your destination. Plan ahead and know BEFORE you go. Use to look for scheduled construction in your area or along your routes. 

  • Slow down! Follow the construction speed limit.
  • Keep an eye out for workers and equipment in and around the work zone. Watch for and obey flaggers directing traffic.
  • Stay alert and keep your attention on the roadway.
  • Don’t be surprised to see police patrols near a work zone. Fines may be doubled for traffic citations in work zones.
  • Give yourself extra time to get where you need to go.
Safety for everyone on the road is important to us. Safety is our middle name! However, drivers going through work zones must do their part. Maintain a safe work environment for construction workers, fellow drivers, and people who are walking, rolling or biking through the area. 

See the projects along your routes on our Project Tracker website.

Secure your load

Keep it in your vehicle​

While gearing up for a road or camping trip, don't forget that it is illegal to transport loads that drag or leak. Loads that drag, such as trailer chains, can throw sparks and pose a serious wildfire risk — creating an opportunity to ignite vegetation on the nearby shoulder.​

Make sure your load follows these criteria:
  • Does not drag, shift, or leak on the pavement.
  • The end of your load is marked with a light or flag, if required.
  • Does not obstruct the driver’s view.
  • Does not interfere with control or operation of the vehicle.

Secure your load using ropes, netting, straps, or chains. Stop and check the load frequently. Make sure that the items you’re carrying won’t come loose or fall off during transport. 

Remember that all passengers must be secured, too. Buckle in! Be sure that children are sitting in the appropriate car seat for their size as well. 

Learn about the laws around securing your load​ properly.​

Plan for heat

It can get hot in Oregon​

As temperatures rise, it is important to be prepared for taking on the heat. On and off the road, there is the danger of heat-related illness during the summer. 

To help prevent heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, try these things:
  • Stay in a cool, air conditioned place. If your car’s AC doesn’t work, try getting it fixed before it gets too hot. If your car doesn’t have AC, take measures to ensure that there is a steady airflow in the vehicle. Or take more frequent stops in air-conditioned places. 
  • Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is a key factor in preventing heat-related illnesses. And be sure to travel with extra water for everyone in the car (including pets).
  • Plan ahead. By using, you can more easily accommodate to traffic conditions. 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms such as headache, nausea or dizziness may indicate heat exhaustion. It's important to move to shade and drink water. More severe symptoms like confusion, loss of consciousness and hot, dry skin may be signs of heat stroke, a medical emergency. Call 911 right away if you think you are experiencing heat stroke. Learn more about heat related illness​.

Finally, a reminder to never leave a child or a pet alone in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down or the air conditioning on. Always look in the front and back of the vehicle before locking the door and walking away

The 100 deadliest days of summer

Help young drivers be successful​

Summer is upon us, and that means our youngest drivers are out and about. The 100 days of summer are considered the deadliest days for drivers, especially teen drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationwide more than 14,000 people died in teen-driving related summertime crashes from 2010 to 2021.​

Speeding is the leading cause of crashes involving teen drivers. Additionally, distracted driving or driving impaired are the leading causes of crashes for drivers of all ages. 

To reduce the possibility for crashes this summer (or any day of the year), talk to your teen about avoiding unnecessary risks while driving: 
  • Speeding greatly reduces your reaction time and increases your risk. It also reduces your peripheral vision field, making it more likely you won’t see objects or people about to enter the roadway.
  • Impairment or “buzzed” driving can happen in a flash when drinking alcohol or taking drugs (even “over the counter” medicines!).
  • Distractions are deadly! In Oregon, drivers under the age of 18 are completely prohibited from using a cell phone (even hands-free) for any purpose while driving.
  • Increasing the number of passengers in a car also increases the risk of a crash. If a teen does have passengers, ask friends to act as a co-pilot for younger drivers to lend an extra set of eyes and remind them of their responsibility to help keep occupants and other road users safe!​ They can also control the driver’s phone for them!

Summer is for making great memories, not tragedies. Teens are capable of driving correctly and their best coach is their parent or guardian. Speak up!

Know your crosswalk laws

Watch out for each other​

You’ve heard it a million times: “Look both ways!” and “Watch out for pedestrians!” Well, you’re about to hear it again. The safety of Oregonians will always be of utmost importance. Take this time to freshen up on your crosswalk laws — whether you’re a pedestrian or a driver (or both). 

  • In Oregon, every intersection is a crosswalk — even if it’s not marked with crosswalk lines. Every corner where two roads inter-sect is a crosswalk.
  • Crosswalks may also exist between intersections (mid-block), but only when marked with painted white lines.
  • By law, a pedestrian is in a crosswalk when any part of the pedestri-an moves into the roadway at a crosswalk, with the intent to pro-ceed.
  • That includes not only the pedestrian’s body, but also a wheelchair, cane, crutch, bicycle or any other extension of the person.
  • A driver may be fined more than $250 for failing to stop for a pedes-trian.
  • School may be out for the summer (meaning no school zones), but you still need to be alert for children in the roadways!
  • Human pedestrians aren’t the only pedestrians to look out for! Remember to watch for wildlife crossing the roadways.​​

Stay safe during wildfire season

Wildfires occur without warning

In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in wildfires and the smoke inevitably creates poor visibility on our roads, which is challenging for drivers. Sometimes the best thing to do is get off the road until conditions improve. 

Here are tips for driving in smoky conditions.​

Before you go

  • Check your entire route before setting out. Conditions may be very different at your destination.
  • Find an alternate route. Fire is wildly unpredictable, especially in high winds. If possible, find a route that takes you away from fires.
  • Have your car ready before you go. Make sure you have a full gas tank before leaving and that your vehicle is in good condition. Have water, food, and carry an emergency kit with extra water and medi-cations for all your passengers, including and for any pets you bring.

On the road
  • Slow down and stay alert. Slow driving gives you more time to re-spond to unexpected conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights. Even during daylight hours your headlights will help others on the road see you. Use low-beams as high-beams reflect off particles in the air and cause glare.
  • Use fog lights. If you have them, fog lights can help cut through the smoke.
  • Pay attention. You need to drive, not take pictures. Especially when there’s a fire.
  • Keep plenty of space between you and other vehicles. Visibility de-creases in smoke. Maintain a safe stopping distance between you and the vehicle up front.
  • If visibility becomes too dangerous to continue, pull off to the side of the road as soon as safely possible.
  • Never stop in a travel lane. Look for a safe area completely away from the road if possible and turn off all lights — including emergen-cy flashers — until it’s safe to continue.
  • Don’t tailgate. Keep a steady, reliable pace. Remember that everyone else on the road is in the same fix you’re in. They’re counting on you to help show the way.
  • Roll up the windows. Set your fan to recirculate.

Prevent wildfires
  • When pulling off of the road, stay on paved surfaces whenever pos-sible. Avoid the side of the road where flammables such as dry grass can come in contact with your vehicle’s hot components including the exhaust system or catalytic converter.
  • Never toss a cigarette or any flammable materials out the window of the vehicle. Extinguish all smoking materials completely and thor-oughly and away from dry grass and fuels.
  • Secure chains and make sure they aren’t dragging. That can cause sparks.

Maintain your  vehicle
  • Maintain proper tire pressure as driving on rims will throw off sparks.
  • Prevent vehicle fires by having your vehicle serviced regularly by a professionally trained mechanic. Heat and electrical sparks that come into contact with leaking flammable car fluids can easily start a car fire.
  • Carry a fire extinguisher in your car and know how to use it.
  • Be alert

Be alert
  • If you see something, say something. People behaving carelessly with fireworks or other flammables must be told of the dangers.
  • Know wildfire risks and restrictions in your area.
  • All of us have a responsibility to do whatever we can to prevent human caused wildfires.​

Driving safe in summer rain

Be ready for Oregon's weather

​It sounds a little paradoxical, but summertime and fresh rain can create a perfect storm on the highways. Rain creates dangerous driving conditions: reduced visibility, reduced traction between tires and the road, and less pre-dictable car handling. When it’s raining, be cautious and give yourself more time to get where you are going. Also remember:

  • Slow down. Driving through several inches of water at high speed can cause you to lose control of the car; it could also splash water into the engine and stall it. Lowering your speed helps you prepare for sudden stops caused by disabled cars, debris and other wet-weather hazards.
  • Expect road surfaces to be slick if it hasn’t rained in a while and it does start to rain. Engine oil and grease build up on the road over time. When mixed with water from rain, the road can become slick. The first few hours of a fresh rain can be the most dangerous.
  • Disengage your cruise control.
  • Turn on your headlights to improve visibility.
  • Keep your distance. A car needs two to three times more stopping distance on wet roads.

Maintain your vehicle during wet weather
The most common vehicle problems in wet weather involve wipers, brakes, tires and defrosters.
  • Before heading out in wet weather, check your wipers for signs of damage. Replace wiper blades regularly. Make sure your defroster is functioning properly, especially if you haven’t used it in a while.
  • Check your brakes. After driving through a puddle, check that your brakes are working properly by tapping them gently a few times.
  • Check your tires. Make sure tires are in good condition and are at the recommended inflation level. Tires should have a recommended 2/32 of an inch tread depth at any two adjacent grooves. Driving on over-inflated or under-inflated tires is dangerous on wet pavement.

Watch for hydroplaning conditions
Hydroplaning occurs when your front tires ride on a film of water. It can occur at speeds as low as 35 mph, especially if tires are worn. If you hydro-plane, ease off the gas, gently apply the brakes and steer straight ahead.

Motorcyclists: Protect yourself so you can enjoy the ride

​Experience Oregon’s awesome roads safely

It’s a no-brainer: experience makes you a better motorcycle rider. So, first things first — we suggest you take a class! In fact, if you don’t already have a motorcycle endorsement, you are required to take a class to get one. Check out Oregon’s motorcycle and moped handbook​ for more information.

Either way, take a course! 
Safe motorcycling takes balance, coordination and good judgment. Complet-ing a motorcycle rider education course (like those offered by Team Oregon) is a good way to ensure you have the correct instruction and experience it takes to ride a motorcycle safely.

Wear a helmet
Helmets are required in Oregon. Make sure it is DOT-certified. For the best protection, wear a full face helmet with a face shield. You’ll want to replace your helmet every 3 – 5 years (follow manufacturer’s direction), and if you can’t find a comfortable fit, get professionally fitted.

Reduce your chances of getting hit
Motorcyclists are often hit when a vehicle turns left across traffic in front of them or pulls out from the right in front of them. In both cases, drivers will often say they didn’t see the bike. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are some key things riders can do to reduce the chances of getting hit:
  • Follow the posted speeds to ensure drivers’ expectations are accurate and to ensure you can stop if necessary.
  • Maintain a lane position and following distance (at least 4 seconds) that ensures visibility to all drivers.
  • Wear protective clothing that contrasts with your background, and ensure your headlight is on.
  • Practice your emergency stops and ride within your own abilities.
  • Also, take special care to navigate intersections safely. Check for traffic on all sides and only move forward on green after you deem it’s safe.

Other tips to enjoy the ride
  • Get to know your motorcycle by practicing. That way you can handle changing road conditions, weather and traffic.
  • Have a procedure you follow before every ride: check tire pressure, fluid levels, brakes, lights; secure your cargo; wear proper gear; etc.
  • Ride responsibly — obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits. Ride your best — sober, well-rested and focused on the task of expertly operat-ing your motorcycle. Enjoy!​

Summertime bicycle safety

Enjoy your ride - and help others enjoy theirs

Summertime means more people on bikes, more children out walking and rolling… and more people in general enjoying the great weather. But just because it’s light for longer doesn’t mean safety moves to the backburner.

People who ride bikes and people who drive cars need to share our roadways by obeying the traffic laws, respecting each other's rights, and being courteous to all people using the transportation system.

In Oregon traffic law, bicycles are considered “vehicles” and abide by the same rules as a vehicle would.  But there is a new law that went into effect January 2020: People on bicycles can roll through stop sign intersections if they slow the bicycle to a safe speed. People on bicycles can also make a right or left turn into a two-way street or make a turn into a one-way street in the direction of traffic without stopping first. This law also applies to red flashing light intersections. It does not apply to intersections controlled by traffic lights.

Oregon law requires anyone under 16 riding a bicycle or being carried on a bicycle to wear approved protective headgear. The parent or person with legal responsibility for the safety and welfare of a child is held responsible. 

Top tips for drivers

  • A sharrow marks a lane that shared by people driving and people biking – this helps move traffic more efficiently. When you see sharrow markings, expect a person on a bike to take the lane
  • Open your car door with the hand that is farthest away – this will prompt you to turn further and be more likely to see anyone riding alongside you, so you can avoid dooring a passerby.
  • Where speeds are greater than 35 mph, you may only pass a person riding a bicycle in your lane when it is safe to do so and if you leave enough distance to prevent contact with the person riding a bicycle if they were to fall. This is called “fall distance.”
  • The faster you drive, the more likely you are to kill a person on a bike if there is a crash: 20mph = 10% chance of death, 30mph = 40% chance of death, 40mph = 80% chance of death.

For people on bicycles, some safety tips 

  • Ride a bike that fits you—if it’s too big, it’s harder to control the bike.
  • Ride a bike that works — it really doesn’t matter how well you ride if the brakes don’t work. 
  • Wear equipment to protect you and make you more visible to others, like a bike helmet, bright clothing (during the day), reflective gear, and a white front light and red rear light and reflectors on your bike (at night, or when visibility is poor).
  • Ride one per seat, with both hands on the handlebars, unless signaling a turn.
  • Carry all items in a backpack or strapped to the back of the bike.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and pack enough water to stay hydrated.
  • Tuck and tie your shoe laces and pant legs so they don’t get caught in your bike chain.
  • Plan your route — if driving as a vehicle on the road, choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Your safest route may be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane, on a bike path, or along a greenway.
We should be continually on the lookout for each other - people on bicycles as well as people driving. We are all people getting to the places we want to go!

This information is provided by Commute Options located in Bend. Commute Options promotes active transportation including walking, bicycling, carpooling, vanpooling, telecommuting and transit.  Learn more at​

Share the road with trucks

Be safe around big rigs

Safety rules aren’t one size fits all when it comes to sharing the road with extra wide, tall or heavy vehicles. Super size loads require special attention.
  • Large trucks have blind spots, or ‘No Zones,’ around the front, back and sides of the truck. Stay out of the ‘No Zone.’ Make your car visible by either pulling ahead or dropping back so the driver can see you. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
  • Pilot cars in front or in back of a large truck serve as a buffer between the load and other vehicles. Allow them space to do their jobs. Don’t get between a pilot car and a big truck.
  • Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver. A super sized truck can take 400 feet — more than the length of a football field — ​to stop. Trucks make wide turns at intersections and require additional lanes to turn. Keep a safety cushion between your car and the truck.
  • Watch for large loads when merging on to the highway. Look ahead and behind, using mirrors and checking blind spots to merge into traffic quickly and safely.

Additional tips
  • Don’t cut off trucks. For safety’s sake, it’s recommended that you maintain one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed. 
  • Don’t tailgate. Unlike cars, trucks have large blind spots behind them. Drivers who tailgate trucks can’t see traffic ahead. If the truck brakes suddenly, you won’t have time to react and no place to go. 
  • Don’t speed. Speed is a leading cause of fatal crashes in Oregon.
  • Car-at-fault truck crashes are primarily due to cars driving in truck blind spots or traffic violations by car drivers, such as: speeding, tailgating, failure to yield and negligent or reckless driving.​

Tips for commercial vehicle drivers

Make sure your big rig is ready

The summer months bring the heat, which means there is a higher chance of your engine overheating. Nobody wants their commercial vehicle (or any 
other vehicle) to break down on the side of the road. But if this happens, ODOT can help!

Things to remember before you go…
  • Check all fluid levels — specifically coolant. If there is a leak, be sure to get it fixed.
  • Be aware of your route. Use a low gear at low speed when going down a long hill. Riding your brakes can cause them to overheat and become less effective.
  • Traffic condition updates and diagrams are posted on Oregon’s travel information website, Road condition information is also available by phone. From within Oregon, call 511 or 1-800-977-ODOT (6368). From outside Oregon, dial 503-588-2941. 
  • Be prepared. Bring an emergency kit with roadside assistance equipment, a first aid kit and tools.
  • Be aware of farm equipment and other slow-moving vehicles, especially on rural highways.
For more information on commercial driving in Oregon, visit the Commerce and Compliance Division of ODOT here:

Scheduling Projects

Scheduling projects

​Why does all the road construction happen all at once? Why do some projects cause weekend closures or interrupt the workday? Why is some work done only during the day while other work is done only at night?

We consider many factors in scheduling projects. For starters, we try to impact the least amount of traffic possible. We try to reduce the disruption to drivers commuting to and from work. Other factors include:

  • Type of work: Some construction, such as bridge-forming and abutments that involve intricate carpentry work, needs adequate light to be done well.
  • Temperature: Colder overnight temperatures can preclude certain work. For example, national standards for paving say it can't be done below a certain temperature because the asphalt sets before it can be properly compacted. So overnight paving during fall, winter and spring months isn't possible.
  • Noise: Whether it's urban or rural work, if it will be done near residential areas we have to consider daytime work to minimize the nighttime noise.
  • Logistics: We take practical concerns into account, such as the extra cost of running lights or having a paving plant open in the middle of the night.
  • Timing and Duration: Working during the day will often get a project finished sooner. If a contractor says work can be finished after 100 days of night work or half that during the day, we likely will opt to get a project over sooner to reduce the time that drivers will have to go through a construction zone.
  • Safety: The safety of construction workers is paramount, as is the safety of drivers. While there are fewer drivers at night, reduced visibility for drivers and workers must be considered.

Before a project starts, we go over all these factors to decide what work can be completed at night and what will need to happen during the day. We try to limit the inconvenience construction may have on drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, neighboring businesses and communities while delivering services and infrastructure improvements for Oregonians.

Driving through a work zone requires care and caution

Use care and caution in work zones

Traveling through a work zone is both a lot easier and a lot harder than you might think.

It's easier because you have to slow down and be alert. Use caution, watch where you're going and keep your eyes wide open.

It's harder because —more than many other driving conditions — lives are at stake. Not just road workers. More drivers and passengers are injured and killed each year than highway workers.

Use caution even when a work zone isn't active. There can be bumps, barriers and narrower lanes during the entire length of a project. There may be equipment nearby or damage that you can't see.

Work zones include short term work zones, such as for maintenance projects or signal repairs, and moving work zones for projects such as painting road stripes or sweeping. Always be careful around workers and equipment!

  1. Drive as if you work there. Think about what it would be like if you had a semi going through your office at 60 mph.
  2. Stay alert and minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the road, avoid changing radio stations while in a work zone, and never use a cell phone while driving.
  3. Expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people may be working on or near the road.
  4. Obey speed signs. Work zone speed limits may be reduced to keep you and workers safe. Excessive speed is a major factor in all fatal crashes.
  5. Move over to give workers more room when possible.
  6. Obey road flaggers and automated flagging devices. Flaggers know what's best for work zone traffic and they have the same authority as a regulatory sign. You can be cited for disobeying their directions.
  7. Remember that fines double in all Oregon work zones, whether workers and signs are present.
  8. Give extra space. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you. The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision.
  9. Pay attention to the signs. The warning signs are there to help you move safely through the work zone. Observe posted signs until you see the one that says you've left the work zone.
  10. Chill out. Remember, the work zone crews are improving the road and making your future driving experience better. And they need to go home to their families too.

Time to merge? Zip it up!

Time to merge? Zip it up!

Lane closures are common in work zones. With summer construction underway, it's a good time for a reminder about the “zipper merge" and how it keeps traffic moving safely through a work zone. 

When some drivers see the first “lane closed ahead" sign in a work zone, they slow too quickly and move to the lane that will continue through the construction area. This can lead to dangerous lane switching, serious crashes and even road rage.

As you see the “lane closed ahead" sign, stay in your current lane up to the point of merge. Then take turns with other drivers to ease into the remaining lane. When traffic is heavy and slow, it is much safer for motorists to remain in their current lane until the point where traffic can take turns merging.

Dangers decrease when motorists use both lanes until reaching the defined merge area and then take turns continuing in the open lane, like the teeth of a zipper.

Using the zipper merge may take a change in your mindset. Many drivers were taught to merge early and believe they are being “cut off" by vehicles merging from the lane that is ending. But sharing the road with a zipper merge means being patient and taking turns.

A cooperative attitude is especially important in a highway work zone. Safer driving habits benefit travelers and workers alike by preventing crashes and keeping traffic moving smoothly. ​

Safety Corridors

​Exploring Oregon's safety corridors

What exactly are Safety Corridors?

Safety Corridors are sections of state highways where the rates of serious crashes and fatalities are higher compared to similar roads statewide. When a stretch of road warrants this designation, it becomes a “safety corridor." This means it's placed under a spotlight for safety measures, including increased law enforcement and doubled fines for traffic violations, if indicated. In some cases, drivers might be asked to turn on their headlights during the day, slow down, and avoid passing other vehicles in these areas.

How does this affect you?

Simply put, we're asking you to increase your awareness of these corridors and help make them safer for everyone who uses them. One significant aspect of this initiative is stricter enforcement. Enforcement is one of the best ways to reduce crashes, because drivers slow down, pay better attention, and follow the laws when they see a patrol vehicle. Imagine seeing signs that read “Traffic Fines Double" – that's a real possibility in these areas. Getting a ticket here could hit your wallet twice as hard.

But it's not just about penalties. We're also working behind the scenes to make these roads safer. Our engineers implement cost-effective improvements like better road markings, raised pavement markers, and signs that catch your attention. Additionally, we're big on education. Through various channels such as media campaigns, educational events, brochures, billboards, posters, and involving community partners we're spreading the word about the importance of safe and courteous driving.