CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some South Texans just aren’t used to strong winter weather that includes ice on the road.
“Thank God I’m from South Texas,” Albert Puebla said.
His wife Deborah Puebla said she’s from Oklahoma and is used to living in snowy conditions, and even had to use chains on her car to drive. That’s why she’s not too worried about the incoming winter weather, but she is taking precautions to avoid an accident.
“We slow down and we just watch what it’s doing and make sure that we’re far away the other car before we get closer to whatever car or whatever object is in front of us because, you know, the slowing time is a lot different,” Deborah Puebla said.
Rick Hinojosa, the owner of Hinojosa Driving School in Portland, said your following distance should be four seconds during icy weather rather than the usual three seconds.
“Let’s say a trash bag on the side of the road. The car in front of you passes that trash bag, you start counting one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. If you say the word three after you pass the trash bag, you’re ok, but the four seconds is any time you have bad weather,” he explained.
He said if you hit a patch of ice, your best bet is to let go of the gas pedal, don’t break, and to just coast over it.
When it comes to a driver’s worse nightmare, spinning out of control and losing control of the wheel, he said, “don’t panic. Ease off the gas pedal obviously and do not slam on your break.”
TxDOT is trying to prevent any accidents by putting a brine mixture, a mix of salt and water, over various areas in Corpus Christi like the JFK Causeway, the Joe Fulton Corridor, the Yorktown Bridge, the Harbor Bridge and the bridge that leads into the Naval Air Station.
TxDOT Public Information Officer for the Corpus Christi area, Rickey Dailey, said they have been putting the mixture since Tuesday, and said it lowers the freezing temperature so when there’s precipitation, the roads won’t freeze as quickly. He said if that doesn’t work, they will lay down ice rock and a de-icing agent to improve traction and break up the ice.
Dailey said as of right now, there are no plans to close the Port Aransas Ferry or the Harbor Bridge, but will consult with the City of Corpus Christi and the Corpus Christi Police Department to determine if any road closures are necessary. He said it’s better to be safer than sorry when out on the roads.
“The best advice that TxDOT can give is that if there is freezing rain, sleet, or snow in the area, just stay off the roads and stay home,” Dailey said.