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Winter Travel Safety

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Megan was on Siskiyou Summit with Gary Leaming and he told us how ODOT keeps the roads safe during the winter. How does ODOT prepare the mountain passes and roadways in general before and during winter storms?  ODOT tries to start in the summertime. They bring in cinder, de-icer,  liquid de-icer, so when the first storms hit they’re ready.  So, prior to the first storm, when they see the weather forecast, they will apply liquid de-icer so that when the first snows hit it doesn’t bond to the pavement. But perhaps the best tool that is out there is the information that the public can access through TripCheck.com or 511 so that information on being prepared is really vital.

Megan asked Gary, “what are some of the bigger problems you see on Interstate 5?” Gary said, ” We’d like to talk about the I-5 mentality which is, unfortunately, drivers think they can go 70 miles an hour all the time on Interstate 5 no matter where they are between Canada and Mexico and here at Siskiyou Summit, this is the highest point in the Casca… or on the corridor. It’s 4100 feet and so it’s the highest point and, uh, very frequently in the summer, or in the wintertime we have winter conditions so as conditions warrant we will screen vehicles and turn them around if they don’t have chains. Because we manage this corridor, not from Ashland to the border, we manage it from Redding to Ashland and we partner with CHP and CalTrans to manage it as a corridor. A lot of teamwork is involved and I think the biggest team member, if you will, is the public. If they do their part then we can keep traffic moving and keep them safe on the road.”

After finding out how ODOT prepares the roadways we shared some tips on how you can prepare your car for when you’re heading out during winter weather.

Gary mentioned carrying chains with you and practice putting those on as well. Another thing you can bring along is a travel kit and you can buy these at some of our local stores. For example, inside you might find some jumper cables in case you can’t start your car because the battery is dead. Maybe you get stuck so a rope tow, also a flashlight with extra batteries. A first aid kit and something you can put up in the window or a cone that shows people you’re in distress.  A shovel also comes in handy if you get stuck in that snow and you need to plow out underneath your tires. Also, Tidy Cat or something that you use for the kitty cat litter actually works as well as sand, you simply put it under the wheels and that gives you traction to get started when you’re stuck.

One of the things Dan always recommends is having some boots, something really winter warm, gloves, warm gloves especially, a little hat, warm socks and an extra change of clothes. You also need to have calories by having things like Trail Mix, things that have peanuts or some kind of nuts, and also raisins, almonds are very, very good to have, some things that are high in calorie and high in protien, something that’s going to be able to give you energy and when you’re cold you end up burning a lot more calories than if you’re comfortable or warm.