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Wintry weather driving: road treatment and safety tips

Wintry weather driving: road treatment and safety tips
Posted at 8:42 PM, Feb 03, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — South Texans aren't known for their wintry weather driving skills.

But as a professional truck driver, David Gonzalez of Corpus Christi feels confident behind the wheel even when roads start to get icy.

"Take your time," he said. "Be patient. Don’t rush it. You’ll get there eventually.”

Driving slowly is one of several tips that Texas Driving School instructor, Rudy Valdez, has for drivers in wintry weather.

“Keep their lights on, drive slow, increase their following distance when they’re following cars," he said.

The Texas Department of Transportation agrees with those tips, and they offer a few more. TxDOT encourages you not to use cruise control and to avoid slamming on the accelerator or the brakes.

Also, use extra caution on ramps, bridges, and overpasses. Those three elevated surfaces are what TxDOT has focused their pre-treatment efforts on along the major corridors in the 10-county Corpus Christi District.

Since Tuesday, they've been spraying a brine solution on roads to make it more difficult for ice to form.

"It works pretty well," the TxDOT district's public information officer Rickey Dailey said. "Because during our last event in January, our crews in the northern counties — they saw ice on the signs on the side of the roads, but none on the bridges that had been treated."

If ice does start to form on roads, TxDOT will switch to applying a combination of a de-icing material and small rocks to break up the ice and improve traction. The last resort would be closing roads because of too much ice, but Dailey says they would consult with the city and the Corpus Christi Police Department before doing so.

Even with all of those tips and precautions, he and Valdez have a recommendation for drivers until the wintry weather leaves the area.

"This looks to be a short-term event — maybe just overnight," Dailey said. "So if motorists could stay home, that’s the best advice that we can give.”

“We usually recommend that people don’t drive on icy roads," Valdez said.

It's advice Gonzalez plans to heed until Sunday when he and his big rig have new loads to haul.

“If you don’t have to go outside, don’t go outside and drive,” he said.