If you don't have to drive, please stay home. If you do have to drive, here's what you need to know

If you don't have to drive, please stay home. If you do have to drive, here's what you need to know »Play Video
A crash on I-5 near Albany on Feb. 6, 2014

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EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon DOT is focusing on highways and ramps, trying to clear areas people use most.

The City of Eugene declared a snow and ice emergency.

And Springfield is doing what it can to maintain access to critical infrastructure, like hospitals.

ODOT crews were not spraying de-icer because it can freeze around 25-23 degrees, making it more dangerous than helpful, according to Rick Little with ODOT.

He urged the public to remember that the storm isn't over yet, and forecasters are predicting freezing rain. Little said that can make driving conditions even worse.

His recommendation: it may sound like a broken record, but just stay home unless it's absolutely necessary to be out on the roads.

Loralyn Spiro with the City of Springfield said crews there are focusing on roundabouts, hospital entrances and highway ramps.

Beyond those, they're looking at residential roads. Those are sanded and plowed based on degree of incline and number of people affected.

Spiro said drivers should watch out for areas of shade once the sun does finally come out.

If you must drive, the Red Cross offers these safety tips:

1. Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter with a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.

2. Fill the vehicle's gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.

3. Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

4. If you can, avoid driving in sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog. If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.

5. Don't follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.

6. Don't use cruise control when driving in winter weather.

7. Don't pass snow plows.

8. Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.

9. Don't run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don't use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn't conk out.

10. If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it - don't abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.

Eugene Public Works Deicing Streets; Snow Emergency Declared

Eugene Public Works is continuing to apply deicer to slippery streets as crews gear up for what could be a multi-day winter storm event.

Public Works declared an ice-snow emergency at 8:30 a.m. today. The declaration means that parking is prohibited on priority travel routes. A map showing the location of the travel routes can be viewed at www.eugene-or.gov/snow.

Based on forecasts of snow and freezing temperatures possibly through the weekend, Public Works opened its Emergency Command Center early this morning. Five trucks equipped with deicing equipment are working on high priority routes. Additional trucks equipped with plows and sanders are standing by and will go into action if snow continues to accumulate.

Crews will also shovel snow from sidewalks and access ramps near public buildings and in the downtown area. Property owners are reminded that they are responsible for keeping sidewalks passable next to their properties.
The main focus as the day continues is to prepare roads for the afternoon commute, said Public Works Incident Commander Eric Johnson.

"The safety of the traveling public and the safety of our employees are our number one priority," Johnson said.

Over the longer term, Public Works is prepared to work round-the-clock until the storm has passed. Community members can call 541-682-4800 if they have questions about the ice-snow emergency.