SALEM, OR --- Unexpected snowfall, downpours, thick fog and blowing dust or smoke can sometimes throw motorists into a panic. The Oregon Department of Transportation offers these safety tips for driving in low-visibility conditions:

-- Slow down. Disengage your cruise control. Most accidents occur because the driver is going too fast for the weather conditions.

-- Use your low beams. High beams will disperse in thick fog or snow, making visibility worse for you and other drivers.

-- Turn on your rear fog lamps, if your vehicle is equipped. They greatly aid visibility for drivers approaching from the rear.

-- Avoid entering an area if you cannot see a safe distance ahead.

-- If you suddenly encounter a severe loss of visibility, pull off the pavement as far as possible. Stop, turn off your lights, set the emergency brake and take your foot off the brake to be sure the taillights are not illuminated. Turn on your emergency flashers.

-- If you can't pull off the roadway, slow down, turn on your low beam headlights and sound the horn occasionally. Use the white fog line or roadside reflectors if necessary to help guide you.

-- Never stop in the travel lanes.