Faulty chains, or lack thereof, causes problems in the Gorge

Officer Kenton Chandler of HRT Security helps a stranded KATU News crew Monday night, Feb. 11, 2019 along Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge. (KATU Photo)

Driving out to Hood River during a storm watch is tricky -- roads are icy and conditions are far from ideal.

The real trouble didn't start until photojournalist Scott Perry and I passed through Cascade Locks on Interstate 84.

At one point, we had to pull over and put on chains for the tires on our Ford Explorer. We drove for about a half mile, and once we got to the Hood River exit, we got stuck in a deep pocket of ice and compacted snow. Thankfully, we had help along the way.

Officer Kenton Chandler of HRT Security pulled us out of the ice (and our misery) and onto drivable road.

His diagnosis for how we got stuck: faulty chains.

We fell prey to one of the most common blunders of winter driving.

"Improper chains, no chains, is usually the most common cause for spinouts and crashes during this winter," said Chandler.

A few yards ahead of us was a semi that was stuck. We originally tried to avoid it by swerving to the far right, but that's how we ended up in this mess.

"Trucks aren't chaining up, and this is not extremely normal weather. So, it's hard to be good at driving in it if you're driving a lot," said Chandler.

Hood River is expecting several inches of snow overnight.

Don’t wind up stuck like us.

"If you don't have to go out, don't. It's always best to stay home," said Chandler. "If you have to go out, good tires, good chains and drive slowly."

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