Drivers prepare for wintry commute as ice shuts down popular Portland attractions

For people back at work, it's time to prepare for another icy commute Wednesday morning."If you don't have to ...

Posted: Dec. 28, 2017 10:48 AM
Updated: Dec. 28, 2017 10:48 AM

For people back at work, it's time to prepare for another icy commute Wednesday morning.

"If you don't have to go out, don't do it," said Laurie Westenberg, who had to pull over and chain up to get groceries.

Vacation is over for some people, and the winter weather seems to already be taking a toll.

Ken Tuggle is visiting from Phoenix with his two sons, and says he enjoys the snow.

"If it's an inconvenience for those working here and stuff like that, I totally understand. But you can still kinda get out and appreciate it or enjoy it," said Tuggle.

"It's not great, but it's better than not being able to leave at all," said Westenberg, who remembers last year's winter. "It's annoying, but I was actually saying I feel relieved after last year to be able to get out. We weren't able to get out a couple times last year so this is freedom."

While the ice can be nice to look at, it is causing problems around Portland.

"I like it. I think it's part of the state. It's part of what makes Oregon, Oregon," said Tuggle.

The ice is shutting down roads, requiring drivers to chain up, and closing some of the city's holiday staples: The Oregon Zoo, which includes ZooLights, and The Grotto's Christmas Festival of Lights.

"It was fun to have a white Christmas, but icy Christmas is not quite as fun," said Westenberg.

While staying home isn't an option for everyone, driving safe is.

"Give plenty of distance. We were tailgated for awhile and it makes you very nervous," said Westenberg.

The Oregon Department of Transportation officials advise of a much larger follow distance between vehicles in winter weather. They say in order to drive or ride a motorcycle safely on wet pavement, a person should double their follow distance.

On ice or snow, a driver should triple that follow distance, meaning as many as 12 seconds of space between two vehicles.

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