NORTHEAST OREGON – In typical Oregon fashion, the temperature and volume of precipitation do not match the calendar month. That said, just because mother nature is operating on a different schedule than normal doesn’t mean certain restrictions and regulations no longer apply. And, as the I-84 shutdown between La Grande and Pendleton on the Morning of February 9 shows, adverse conditions can and will occur unexpectedly. In such cases, chains and traction tires are essential to safe traffic flow. For those unfamiliar with Oregon’s chain restrictions, or who may need a refresher after offloading their chains early, the basic descriptions of chain requirements for designated snow zones (corresponding to the signs above, going left to right) are as follows:
Signs reading, “carry chains or traction tires,” specifically mandate, according to ODOT:
Snow zone signs that read, “chains required on vehicles towing or single driving axles over 10,000 GVW,” mandate:
Snow zone signs reading, “chains required on vehicles towing or over 10,000 GVW,” mandate:
Finally, snow zone signs that read, “chains required. Traction tires allowed on vehicles under 10,000 GVW,” mandate:
Failure to adhere to Oregon’s chain and traction tire restrictions may result in a class C traffic violation for non-commercial vehicles and a class A traffic violation for commercial ones. A class A violation could result in a fine of up to eight hundred dollars. For drivers that rely on studded tires, note that these types of tires can only legally be used from November 1 to March 31. Using studded tires outside the designated time frame not only runs the risk of damaging roads but also brings with it its own set of fines.
Current conditions and restrictions can be found via ODOT’s interactive map at https://tripcheck.com/