WeatherSharon's Weather Blog


Driving on icy roads due to wintry precipitation

Tips for driving in wintry weather
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 12:00:00-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — We don't see icy roads in South Texas often but when we do, it can catch motorists off guard and create potentially dangerous driving conditions. Black ice forms on roadways and can produce a nearly invisible hazard. Black ice, sometimes called clear ice, is a thin coating of glaze ice on a surface, especially on roads. The ice itself is visually transparent, allowing the often black road below to be seen through it.

One of the most dangerous types of road icing threats comes from bridges and overpasses. A bridge is exposed to air on all of its surfaces while a normal road surface is only exposed to air on one side, its top surface. When temperatures drop, this means bridges will cool and accumulate snow and ice faster than roadways on solid ground.

Bridges cool faster.png

An icy bridge's most dangerous threat is that it catch drivers off guard, who are traveling at full speed because the rest of the roads are either clear or just a little wet then run into ice on the bridge.

While it's best to stay off roads until conditions improve, if you must travel, adjusting your driving behavior for winter conditions can help keep you, and others around you, safe on the road. Remember that although some roads are just wet, bridges, overpasses and flyovers could be icy since they cool

1. It's important to increase your following distance to compensate for the increased stopping time it can take for you and other drivers to stop on slick surfaces. Remember that larger vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, may require even longer to stop.

2. If you hit an ice patch, it’s best to do your best to keep the vehicle going straight on the road and remain calm. You can do this by steering your vehicle straight, taking your foot off the gas, and not hitting your brakes. Always remember to reduce your speed and check your blind spots.

3. If your vehicle is sliding and skidding out of control, give your brake pedal a light tap and pay attention to where you want your vehicle to go, and try to head in that direction.

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