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TxDOT crews preparing for possibility of icy roads on MLK Day

TxDOT crews will be pre-treating roads ahead of possibly icy weather on Monday. (Photo: CBS Austin)

The Texas Department of Transportation is preparing for potentially icy roads in Austin for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Crews will begin pre-treating Austin highways with a de-icing solution starting on Sunday at 8 a.m. before storms that are expected to arrive early Monday evening.

"Basically that kinda prevents any kind of icing from really being able to stick to the ground," said TxDOT's Diann Hodges.

TxDOT crews will start with I-35 and move to other highways in the region, treating dry roads to discourage ice or snow from sticking to the pavement.

Trucks will also be on standby should the need to respond to snow and ice situations arise.

Drivers can also do their part by driving carefully and following these guidelines:

  • Use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses. These are the first to freeze.
  • Reduce speed and drive with caution. A vehicle needs at least three times more space to stop on a slick roadway. Do not apply the brakes suddenly, and avoid using cruise control, so that you can respond better if you encounter slippery roads.
  • Slow down when approaching emergency or maintenance vehicles, especially when their flashing lights are on. The law requires you to maintain a distance of at least 200 feet when approaching a deicing crews, and do not pass on the right. Visibility can also be reduced during winter weather conditions.
  • Be patient. Your trip time – including short commutes to work – could increase when adverse weather conditions exist. Also, keep to the main roads and avoid taking shortcuts through territory that may not have been plowed.
  • Winterize vehicles before traveling during adverse weather. Check fuel, tire, oil and antifreeze levels. Make sure heater, brakes and windshield wipers are working properly.
  • Check area weather conditions on radio or television before starting a trip

To check real-time roadway conditions, visit DriveTexas.org.

Austinites are not used to so many wintry storms. "It's not Texas at all," said Darion Spence.

Despite TxDOT's efforts, drivers are still not looking forward to this weather. "It's more dangerous here, in my opinion, because people aren't prepared for it," said Kelley Garrett.

Even with the de-icing solution on the ground, drivers say they are going to take it slow. "I generally drive under the speed limit, and try to limit my travel as much as I can," Spence said.

Crews will treat roads after the storm if necessary.

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