Winter is a beautiful time of year in Southern Oregon. However, traveling on back roads and/or unplowed roads in the winter months can be very dangerous. Within the last 30 days, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue has rescued five stranded motorists.
If you are planning to travel, it is important to plan ahead to best ensure the safety of you and your passengers. You can improve your chances of a safe trip by utilizing the following tips:
Do research: make sure the roads you are planning to travel on are passable in winter conditions. For up-to-date travel conditions, visit www.TripCheck.com.
Inspect your vehicle to ensure it is in top operational condition.
Plan for an emergency with supplies and at least one communication/navigation device.
Carry tire chains in your vehicle so they are available for use when needed and do not hesitate to turn around before it is too late to do so.
Take roads that are familiar to you and don’t try to save time by taking “short cuts” unknown to you.
Let others know what route you are planning to use. Should you become stranded, this will likely increase your chances of being located in a timely manner.
Keep in mind that in winter conditions, an increase in elevation of 500 feet can be the difference between 2 inches of snow and 2 feet of snow. As the snow melts, the water flowing in small creeks and rivers can go from a slow moving stream to a raging torrent in a very short amount of time. Never attempt to drive through fast moving water.
Remember, each of us has to make decisions as to whether our travel or recreational activities are worth the potential risk to our safety and the safety of our loved ones.
Finally, congratulations to Sergeant Shawn Richards who was named Search and Rescue Committee Chairman for the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association.
Stay safe and thank you for your continued support.
Captain Tim Snaith