▶️ Traveling for the holidays: What Central Oregonians need to know


With the holidays just around the corner, many Central Oregonians are making the trip over the mountain pass.

“We’re going to see levels that are really close to what we saw in 2019,” said Marie Dodds the Director of Government and Public Affairs for AAA Oregon.

Bend social media sites are filled with posts about traveling through the mountains this week.

“So you can expect all of the mountain passes leading into and out of Bend to be very busy,” Dodds said.

According to AAA, 109 million Americans – including 1.5 million Oregonians – will travel this Holiday season; up 34% from the previous year.

And 92% of them will be venturing by car – which is always an adventure in Oregon. 

“It can be difficult, if not impossible if you try to negotiate the mountain passes without proper traction,” Dodds said.

Especially with the storms looming in the area.

“It might look really good if you’re in Sisters and getting ready to go over the Santiam Pass, but as you continue to go to a higher elevation, you’re going to see more and more snow on the side of the roads, then it’s going to be on the road, and then it’s going to get pretty tough to travel, especially with system after system pushing right through our area,” said Dorrell Wenninger the Chief Meteorologist at Central Oregon Daily News.

Up until Christmas Eve morning, forecasts show snow rolling into Central Oregon and on the passes.

So be sure to be prepared, even for things you wouldn’t expect.

“The number one call we get to AAA during the winter months is for a dead battery,” Dodds said, “So make sure that your battery is okay.”

The best way to protect yourself while driving during the holiday season is to give yourself extra time for your destination, pack food and supplies in case the snow piles up, and always be prepared with properly fitting tire socks or chains.


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