Traveling safely

Washington County is home to rural and urban lands with a variety of transportation elements. In all areas, traffic safety is our priority for all those who drive, ride, walk or roll on our roads.

Please travel safely, using the following tips.


Traveling through intersections with flashing yellow arrows

Flashing Left Arrow

When turning left at a flashing yellow arrow signal:

  • Oncoming traffic has the right of way. Wait for a suitable gap in traffic.
  • Pedestrians or bicyclists using the crosswalk have the right of way. Wait until they have crossed.
  • Stop behind the crosswalk or stop bar while you wait. You can get a traffic ticket for waiting in the intersection (ORS 811.290). 
  • Stopping behind the crosswalk or stop bar also helps sensors detect your vehicle. The sensors will eventually display a green arrow signal for your turn, if you cannot turn during the flashing yellow arrow signal.

Watch Flashing Yellow Arrow

Traveling in roundabouts

Travel In RoundaboutsA roundabout is a circular intersection where all traffic flows counterclockwise. Roundabouts are safer than standard intersections because they have fewer conflict points and traffic travels through them at lower speeds. They reduce stopping and starting, which improves air quality. 

When traveling through roundabouts:


  • Watch for signs and road striping indicating roundabouts and exit locations.
  • Reduce speed as directed.
  • Yield to pedestrians and bicycles at both the entrances and exits of roundabouts.
  • When the way is clear, turn right into the roundabout.
  • Use your turn signal when exiting a roundabout.
  • Pro tip: if you miss your exit, go around again!


  • Travel in the same direction as vehicles, or
  • Travel on the sidewalks instead of the road. 


  • Use the sidewalks and designated crosswalks.
  • Cross one lane at a time. Use any raised islands between lanes for refuge.
  • Enter crosswalks carefully. Be sure drivers see you.
  • When crossing an entry lane, look away from the roundabout for traffic entering the roundabout.
  • When crossing an exit lane, look towards the roundabout for traffic exiting the roundabout.
  • Never cross the roundabout to the central island.

Watch Driving Roundabouts in Washington County


Driving on gravel roads

Gravel Road graphicVehicles handle differently on gravel roads than they do on paved roads. When  driving on gravel roads:

  • Slow down and see how your vehicle handles. Slowly speed back up to a safe speed. 
  • Pay attention. Gravel road conditions can change quickly, based on weather and use.
  • Drive slower than usual so you can easily stop if needed. 
  • Turn gently and smoothly. 
  • Accelerate and brake slowly to avoid skidding or sliding.
  • Take your foot off the gas or brake if your vehicle starts to skid or slide.
  • Turn the wheel in the direction you want to go.
  • Slow down as you approach intersections, curves or hills.
  • Allow at least two car lengths between vehicles. In snow, ice or rain, allow more distance. 
  • Slow down and move to the right when approached by oncoming vehicles to give them room to get by.
  • Do not turn back onto the road suddenly if your vehicle goes off the road. Take your foot off the gas and slowly steer back onto the road.
  • Do not swerve or turn to avoid an object or animal. Use your brakes to stop instead.


Driving in work zones

Work Zones graphicSlow down and pay attention when you drive through a work zone. On average, three deaths and 160 injuries occur in work zones daily in the U.S. Most of these people are drivers and passengers. 

When driving in work zones:

  • Slow down and pay attention.
  • Follow signs and traffic patterns created by traffic cones, barrels and barricades.
  • Follow directions from flaggers and other workers. They are aware of hazards you may not see, including heavy equipment, underground work or live power lines.

Learn more: National Work Zone Awareness Month

Ask a traffic safety question

Have a question about traffic safety in Washington County? Email us. Our team of experts will review and respond.

If you have a specific road problem, Request a Service.

For more safe travel tips: DMV Manuals & Publications