Black ice threatens East Texas drivers

Kathi White, TxDOT spokesperson
Kathi White, TxDOT spokesperson

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – An invisible often deadly menace- black ice sneaks up on roadways when drivers least expect it.

"Its ice that you're not going to see or know it's there until you hit it and then it's going to be too late because your tires are going to lose contact with the roadway," said DPS spokesman Greg Sanches. "You'll go into a slide," he explained.

With rain, sleet and snow in the forecast, icy roads are expected.

"People just need to slow down just in case there is some bad condition up ahead," said Sanches.

Throughout the weekend law enforcement will be monitoring the roadways checking for hazardous conditions, paying special attention to bridges and over passes.

"They'll be putting rocks on those over passes and bridges that will freeze up pretty quickly," said TxDOT spokesperson Kathi White.

TxDOT maintenance worker Curtis Shoemaker prepares to spend hours working through the chilly night. He says maintaining the roads is challenging.

"We're out there trying to get it where they can go and they want to pass us speeding because we're going too slow and you know so they spin out. A lot of people, they come up on the ice, the first thing they do is hit the brakes and that's the worst thing you can do. You know the main thing is just let off the gas and let it slow down on its own," said Shoemaker.

TxDOT is asking drivers to navigate these roads with caution.

"Slow down and make sure that you're leaving extra space. Make sure your vehicle is ready to get on the road. Fill it up. You don't know if you may get stranded out there," said White.

Other safety tips include, "wearing their seat belts, make sure their kids are buckled up. Also make sure your vehicle is in good maintenance, good tires. Make sure they've got enough warm clothing or blankets," said Sanches.

They say, even if you can't see the ice assume it's there. Most importantly drive slowly and give yourself plenty of travel time. If you become stranded, dial star DPS on your cell phone to call for help.

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