EDITOR’S NOTE: A family gathering on Saturday had us on the road heading to Portland Saturday morning before 9 am. The traffic eastbound was light, but the oncoming, westbound traffic was nearly a solid line from Saddle Mountain to Banks. Wow! The day-trippers (and weekenders) getting an earlier start. On the return trip, as we headed west about 5 pm, it was reversed — somewhat light traffic heading west and a solid line back east.
I’m always reminded to drive extra-aware on any of our scenic highways, especially during “the season” which now seems to stretch through nine months of the year, or ANY sunny weekend. On nearly every trip over the hill, we witness multiple incidents of bad driving, near-misses and expletive-inducing encounters. We are seasoned drivers – logging thousands of miles over the years throughout the western US and even in other parts of the country. Without a doubt, we experience more examples of bad driving on Hwy. 26 or Hwy. 6 – and generally it’s out-of-state drivers uncomfortable on rural “two-lane” highways. This timely reminder from the Oregon Department of Transportation is an opportunity to remind everyone about courtesy, safety and rules of the road. So, take a deep breath, if someone “knows the road” and is comfortable driving a bit faster than you – let them pass – so everyone can enjoy the drive. Relax, slow down and get there (to your weekend getaway or home) alive …
Spring brings out the orange. Orange cones, barrels, and signs reminding us all that road construction season has arrived. Most everyone plans their travel routes, slows down for work zones, expects some delays and knows that better roads are coming.
But there’s always someone who doesn’t. Doesn’t plan. Doesn’t slow down. Doesn’t expect delays. Road workers and travelers are at high risk of injuries in work zone crashes. Often because someone is distracted, impaired, or driving too fast for the conditions. People are injured. Killed. Not going home.
In Oregon we averaged 555 work zone crashes a year between 2013 and 2017. That’s one every 16 hours.
We work with our partners continuously to enhance the safety of the traveling public, property owners, employees, and the workers who build, operate, and maintain our transportation system. May is Transportation Safety Awareness Month. Join us in getting everyone to be aware in work zones, so everyone can get home.
This month and through our summer construction season we and our partners, including Oregon State Police, Oregon Trucking Association, Associated General Contractors and AAA Oregon/Idaho, will be sharing social media messages, videos, and advertising to help people remember – when you see orange, respect the zone.