Thursday, October 28, 2010

Make sure your vehicles are winter-ready to travel safely on our roads

A video taken from inside an Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper's patrol car last winter is a reminder for all drivers to avoid any distraction and do everything you can to drive safely, especially during the winter season when roads are slick and the unexpected happens quickly.

On January 7, 2010 at about 8:22 a.m. OSP Trooper Josh Nagle was westbound on Highway 20 near milepost 10 during icy conditions enroute to a reported injury traffic crash on Santiam Pass when the driver of an eastbound pickup lost control and traveled across the centerline. Nagle, who had been with OSP for one year, steered to the right shoulder in an attempt to avoid the oncoming out-of-control pickup but was struck nearly head-on. After the initial impact, a dump truck following Nagle's patrol car struck the rear of the involved pickup.

Bend Fire Department personnel spent about 30 minutes using ‘Jaws of Life' to extricate Nagle before he and the other driver were transported by ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend with non-life threatening injuries.

An investigation by Deschutes County Sheriff's Office concluded with the other driver being cited and convicted for Failure to Maintain a Lane of Travel.

"We are thankful this crash wasn't a fatal reminder and that both drivers recovered from their injuries. We hope this video reminds everyone to use your safety restraints and to be aware at all times, especially when winter and wet weather conditions can make driving challenging for anyone," said Superintendent Chris Brown.

OSP and ODOT urge everyone to prepare now for winter driving, following the tips and useful resources mentioned Monday in ODOT's news release:

"Now is the time for all drivers to get prepared and for car owners to make sure your vehicles are winter-ready to travel safely on our roads," said Brown.