LUFKIN, TX - Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) crews are getting ready for icy weather conditions forecast for the local area this weekend. Crews have already started pre-treating U.S. 59 and a few other locations in anticipation of the winter storm.
According to TxDOT, maintenance crews in the Lufkin District's nine county area (Angelina, Houston, Nacogdoches, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby and Trinity counties) have outfitted dump trucks and pickup trucks with necessary equipment and materials for response to emergency situations as weather conditions change. Crews will continue to pre-treat some roadways Friday including Loop 287 in Lufkin and Loop 224 in Nacogdoches and will report to work when conditions warrant during the weekend. Efforts include inspecting highly exposed areas that are susceptible to wind and ice such as bridges, ramps and overpasses. De-icing materials and rock will be placed over those areas as needed to improve travel.
"Crews are prepared but if conditions get so bad that it makes driving hazardous the best and safest thing to do is to stay off the roads," said Kathi White, TxDOT spokesperson. "If you absolutely must drive, slow down and use extra precautions especially on elevated surfaces."
The number of Texas motor vehicle traffic crashes totaled 111,238 during the winter months (Dec. 2013, Jan. 2014, and Feb. 2014). These crashes resulted in 793 fatalities and almost 20,000 injuries (incapacitating and non-incapacitating). TxDOT offers these tips to help minimize potential hazards if you must drive:
• Be extra cautious on bridges, overpasses, ramps, turns and shaded areas which tend to freeze first.
• Reduce speed and allow extra time to reach destinations.
• Increase the following distance between you and other vehicles.
• Stay back at least 200 feet from vehicles treating roadways
• If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes and steer into the direction of skid.
• Remain in your vehicle
• Avoid unnecessary travel