5 ways to avoid accidents while driving on icy, snowy roads - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

5 ways to avoid accidents while driving on icy, snowy roads

This accident occurred just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, as roads began to get slippery near exit 25 on I-185. This accident occurred just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, as roads began to get slippery near exit 25 on I-185.
(WTVM) -

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) says maintenance crews are ready and waiting as wintry weather makes its way into West Central Georgia. Their goal: To keep motorists moving.

And the goal of the motorist? To make it home safely.

"Our road clearing crews always hope for the best, but train and prepare for the worst," said Clay Moore, District Maintenance Engineer at the DOT office in Thomaston. "These crews will be happy if winter weather never hits Central Georgia, but when inclement weather arrives, our main concern becomes road conditions.

Moore says keeping the roads safe and open for emergency vehicles is their first priority. "We are monitoring changing weather conditions and will treat roads as needed. Interstates will be cleared first and then state routes from the most heavily traveled to the least traveled," Moore explained.   

In the 31 counties of West Central Georgia, the state DOT has the following resources to deal with any upcoming winter weather event:

-342 employees on call covering 279 interstate and 3,322 state route miles

-5,115 tons of salt

-3,259 tons of gravel

-57 pieces of snow removal equipment

GDOT crews focus first on clearing interstates and heavily traveled state routes from snow and/or ice, and will specifically target areas vulnerable to freezing, like hills, ramps, bridges and interchanges.  In the meantime, they urge drivers to take the following precautions while on the road:

Slow down and stay behind the snowplows. The road behind the plow will be the safest place to drive. Allow at least ten car lengths between your vehicle and snowplows or hopper spreaders.

Do not pass. The plows are wide, and sometimes a group of trucks will work in tandem to clear snow quickly, especially on major highways.

Be particularly aware of black ice conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps late tonight and the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Remember that technology helps, but only to a point. Four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and traction control are beneficial advancements in today's cars, trucks and SUVs, but they can't take the place of good driving habits and the need to reduce speed on snowy or icy roads.

Call 511 or visit www.georgia-navigator.com to get current information on road conditions. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at www.511ga.org

And as always, only venture out on icy, snowy roads if driving is necessary. The safest thing to do is stay where you are when possible.

(Source: GDOT press release)

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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