The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials are gearing up for winter weather in parts of Mississippi this week as a cold front dips well into the south, bringing temperatures in the single digits and teens. Weather can change quickly and MDOT is prepared to respond to winter weather and extreme cold events.
MDOT crews have prepared equipment by installing salt spreaders on trucks and making sure all response vehicles are fueled and running properly. Crews have stockpiled salt, sand and asphalt slag piles.
“Freezing temperatures are expected and frozen precipitation is possible this week. MDOT workers are standing by, closely monitoring the weather updates from the National Weather Service and are ready to respond to treat roadways and keep motorists as safe as possible during this winter weather event,” said MDOT Executive Director Brad White.
Different materials are used for specific winter weather events. Salt brine can be sprayed on the dry road surfaces to help prevent ice formation on travel lanes. If the roads are already wet, granular salt can be applied to help prevent the formation of ice by lowering the freezing point of water. Sand and slag can also be spread to help improve traction in slushy conditions.
To assist the traveling public in preparing for potential winter weather conditions, MDOT offers these safe driving tips.
- Remember, ice will form on bridges and overpasses quicker than the road.
- Slow down. Winter weather conditions can create black ice.
- Allow more space between your car and the vehicles around you.
- Brake early and gently to avoid skidding. Never slam on the brakes.
- Avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on a cell phone.
Creating a winter weather kit to keep in the car in case of a winter weather emergency can be a lifesaver. While MDOT crews will be working to keep roads passable, sometimes conditions can overwhelm available resources and cars can be on the highways for long periods. Here are some important things to have just in case:
- Windshield scraper
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Jumper cables
- Bottled water and snacks
- Extra blankets
“Mississippi winters are often unpredictable, and impacts can remain for days as we saw in recent years,” said White. “Always have a plan, monitor road conditions and follow guidance from your local weather officials to remain safe.”
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