MDOT provides safety tips for winter weather

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) crews are preparing for potential winter weather conditions Sunday and Monday as cold air and precipitation are forecast to move through Mississippi.

“With a winter event, MDOT bases its response from information issued by the National Weather Service (NWS),” Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director. “Crews in areas that could potentially be affected by winter weather will be monitoring local forecasts and riding the highways throughout the evening and into the early morning.”

MDOT is preparing equipment by installing salt spreaders on trucks and making sure all response vehicles are fueled and running properly. Crews are stocking salt, sand and asphalt slag piles. Overnight, crews will be riding the highways to treat problem areas as they are found.

“Initially, we treat the roadway with salt as temperatures drop and icy conditions occur,” McGrath said. “Depending on the temperature drop and precipitation mix, we also combine the salt with slag for increased traction. Motorists should always slow down and drive carefully in winter weather 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; should winter weather conditions become present, black ice can form.
  • Allow more space between the vehicles around you.
  • Brake early and gently to avoid skidding, and never slam on the brakes.
  • Avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on a cell phone.
  • Stay alert.

 “MDOT will be monitoring the weather so the appropriate response efforts can be activated,” McGrath said. “The best thing you can do to stay safe is pay attention to local weather forecasts and advisories, and alerts from the Mississippi Highway Patrol and local law enforcement. Everyone should stay off the roads if they become unsafe for travel due to winter weather conditions.”

Here are eight essential items MDOT recommends in a winter weather car kit:

  • Windshield scraper
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Water/snacks
  • Emergency flares or reflectors

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