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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

 

How to plan ahead and helpful tips for taking transit, walking, biking or driving in winter weather.

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


PLAN AHEAD

  • Create an emergency plan with your family or work colleagues that emphasizes telecommuting, public transit and emergency meeting locations. Check our Winter Weather Center to see the priority snow and ice routes nearest you.
  • Make a checklist for your home, business, or vehicle. Property owners, tenants and businesses should have supplies on hand, such as ice melt and snow shovels to clear sidewalks as well as pathways across their driveways. They should also be prepared to warn the public of overhead dangers around the property such as falling snow or ice. Motorists should carry snow chains at a minimum. See below for a full list of items you should have in your vehicle in the event of winter weather
  • Stay informed. Sign up at Public Alerts for emergency notifications from all regional agencies via text, email or phone. Go to PBOT’s Winter Weather Center to track real-time weather, traffic, road closures and plow information. Sign up for PBOT alerts via text or email
  • Stock up on provisions such as food, water, clothes and medications you, your family, your pets or your business will need in case you are stranded by winter weather -- at home, or on the road in your vehicle.
  • Check in with vulnerable neighbors who may need help stocking up on supplies ahead of a storm or clearing their sidewalks afterward.
  • Prepare to move your car off our priority snow and ice routes to give room for snow plows and other equipment

 AVOID TRAVEL

  • Avoid travel in bad weather, if you can avoid it.
  • Stay informed. Sign up at Public Alerts for emergency notifications from all regional agencies via text, email or phone. Go to PBOT’s Winter Weather Center to track real-time weather, traffic, road closures and plow information. Sign up for PBOT alerts via text or email.

DELAY YOUR TRIP

  • Allow our plows and 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.
  • Support local businesses such as restaurants, shops or hotels while you wait.

TAKE PUBLIC TRANSIT

  • Plan your route at TriMet.org or call 503-238-RIDE (7433) for bus and MAX. Streetcar schedules here.
  • Allow extra time for unexpected delays
  • For service to OHSU's Marquam Hill campus, check Portland Aerial Tram for extended hours during sever weather.

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 your 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.
  • Additional tips can be found on ODOT's Winter Travel Tips page.

WHEN DRIVING…

  • Plan your route. Check our Winter Weather Center to see the priority snow and ice routes nearest you. To check road and weather conditions throughout Oregon, go to ODOT's TripCheck
  • Buy chains. Practice putting them on in dry weather, carry them in your vehicle, and use them. Check PBOT's Winter Weather Road Closure and Chain Advisory for details.
  • 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 or emergency equipment.
  • Obey all street closures and barricades. Violations may result in steep penalties.
  • When visibility or conditions worsen, do NOT stop in a travel lane. Look for a safe, legal space off our plow routes to park or wait for conditions to improve
  • Carry an emergency weather kit. Helpful 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, cell phone and extra charger, and flashlight.
  • Additional tips can be found on ODOT's Winter Travel Tips page

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.
  • Do NOT call 9-1-1. Only call 9-1-1 if you are having a medical emergency or reporting a crime.
  • Stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Use your emergency flashers, run your motor sparingly and open a window for ventilation.
  • If you choose to leave your vehicle, DO NOT abandon it in the travel lane. This may block our crews and other emergency responders. Your vehicle will be cited, towed and impounded. To locate your vehicle, call Police Auto Records at 503-823-0044.
  • Walk with extreme caution to the nearest public transit stop, restaurant or hotel.
  • Recover your vehicle as soon as possible.