Watch for slick, wet roads in northwest this weekend

Watch for slick, wet roads in northwest this weekend
An Oregon State Police trooper assists a motorist who crashed off Interstate 5 north of Grants Pass after a rain shower. (Courtesy: Oregon Department of Transportation)

Heavy rains across portions of northern California and southern Oregon this weekend could make driving treacherous on the state’s roadways.

According to a report from the National Weather Service, a flash flood watch is already in effect for north central and southeast Siskiyou County in Oregon. Washington State is also forecast to see heavy rains this weekend.

“A strong, wet frontal system will produce periods of moderate to heavy rain across the area, including over the Whitney Glacier and Whitney Creek, which has already produced debris flows this year,” the NWS report said. “Debris flows and rock falls could create problems for cars along highway 97 east of Lake Shastina and West of Tennant (in northern California). This will include the Lava Burn Scar.”

Areas of Interstate 5 could also prove dangerous during the forecasted heavy rain, according to the NWS.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has issued a travel advisory ahead of the weather, saying drivers “should prepare now for the first significant rainfall of the season, which will lift oils and grime to the road surface causing slick patches on highways. The hazard often catches motorists by surprise and are often followed by an increase in crashes.”

The alert further stated: “Drivers typically get caught by not slowing down and end up either sliding off the road or crashing into other vehicles or the barrier. It’s critical you change your mindset to the season and drive according to conditions of the road.”

ODOT offers the following safety trips for driving in the rain:

  • Be aware of conditions: Rain can create dangerous driving conditions with reduced visibility, reduced traction between tires and the road.
  • When it’s raining, be cautious, and give yourself more time to get where you are going.
  • Slow down, especially when driving through standing water. Driving through several inches of water at high speeds can cause you to lose control. Lowering your speed helps you watch out for sudden stops caused by disabled cars, debris and other hazards.
  • Turn on your headlights to improve visibility. Disengage your cruise control.
  • Watch your following distance. A vehicle needs two to three times more stopping distance on wet roads.
  • Watch for emergency responders. Slow down. Give them space to work and move over.



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