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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Get Home Safe: Winter Travel Tips

Winter weather gif


PBOT's winter weather travel tips for taking transit, walking, biking and driving in winter weather.

For a quick guide, download our GET HOME SAFE: Winter Weather Tips

Avoid travel in severe winter weather

  • Avoid travel at all, if you can avoid it.
  • Go to our Winter Weather Center for an interactive map with PBOT’s snow and ice routes, traffic cameras and real-time weather, road closure, traffic and plow information.
  • Sign up at Public Alerts for emergency notifications from all regional agencies via text, email or phone.

Delay your trip

  • Allow our plows, sanding trucks and other emergency vehicles to get out ahead of you to treat the roads.
  • Wait until conditions improve before venturing out and allow extra time to reach your destination. Severe winter weather can change quickly and without warning, making travel unpredictable. A single snow or ice storm can impact each neighborhood differently depending on weather patterns, timing and geography.

Take public transit

  • Plan your route. Visit or call 503-238-RIDE (7433) for bus, MAX and streetcar schedules.
  • Allow extra time for unexpected delays

When walking…

  • Cross at a crosswalk or corner.
  • Wear contrasting clothing. Use reflective materials when it’s dark outside or carry a flashlight.
  • Dress warmly, in layers. Don’t forget gloves and a hat. You lose 35% of yoru body heat through your head.
  • Wear shoes with added traction. Avoid slipping and falling on wet or icy surfaces.

When biking…

  • Use wider tires for added stability, traction and control.
  • Use front and rear bicycle lights. For more visibility wear bright clothing or use reflective tape.
  • Brake early and often. Slow down, give yourself longer stopping distances, and keep a firmer grip on your handlebars.
  • Avoid painted and steel road services.
  • Do not pass snow plows, sanding trucks or other emergency vehicles.

When driving…

  • Plan your route.
  • Buy chains. Practice putting them on in dry weather, carry them in your vehicle, and use them.
  • Look out for people on bikes or out walking.
  • Travel gently. Drive, turn and brake slowly.
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other travelers.
  • Do not pass snow plows, sanding trucks or other emergency vehicles.
  • Obey all street closures and barricades. Violations may result in steep penalties.
  • Carry an emergency weather kit in case you are delayed or stranded. Good items to include in addition to chains are a snow shovel, bag of sand, jumper cables, first aid kit, basic tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver and knife), blanket and warm clothing, extra food and water, a cell phone, and a flashlight.

If you get stranded in a vehicle…

  • Pull off the road into a safe parking area off our major streets and plow routes.
  • Wait for conditions to improve.
  • Stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Use your emergency flashers, run your motor sparingly and open a window for ventilation.
  • Don’t abandon your vehicle in the roadway. This may block our crews and other emergency responders. You will be cited and towed. To locate your vehicle, call Police Auto Records at 503-823-0044.
  • Recover your vehicle as soon as possible.