De-icing material may have caused collisions around Austin



Posted on January 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 7:19 PM

AUSTIN --  Winter weather caused problems for drivers on Austin-area roads Thursday morning.

Police received reports of cars slipping and sliding in a few places, including the intersection of Interstate 35 and U.S. 290. They were all minor fender benders on the frontage roads.

Most of the wrecks were happening when cars turned, causing drivers to lose control. Officers on the scene told KVUE that between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. Thursday they saw more than a dozen people fishtail. Only about three or four drivers had damage to their cars.

Since it wasn't cold enough to actually have ice on the roads, police said de-icer may be to blame for the slippery conditions.

It kept workers with the HERO program busy. They assist law enforcement with accidents and help clean up debris. One driver said it's unlike anything he's seen before on roads ahead of a weather event.

"It's not much different from when it first starts raining, road's real slick," said driver Leon Marburger. "I tell motorists to drive slow and if you skid, then turn into the skid it will help out."

TxDOT does do a lot of pre-treating of the roads. Five vehicles began working Tuesday night at 11 and spent four hours treating primarily bridges and overpasses in the area.

Spokesperson Kelli Reyna told KVUE she's not sure the frontage road, where most of this morning's accidents occurred, is in fact one they treat. Her advice is for drivers to take it easy and slow down.

TxDOT also released the following winter weather driving tips:

  • Drive slowly on slick roadways.
  • Keep a safe distance from vehicles driving ahead.
  • Watch for treatment trucks on the roadways.
  • Drive with extra caution on bridges, ramps and overpasses. They tend to freeze first.
  • If your vehicle starts to slide, don't hit the brakes or the gas. Steer into the direction of the skid until you have regained traction, then straighten out your vehicle.

The Austin district of TxDOT covers Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson counties.

Go here for tips on keeping your property safe during freezing weather.

Stay up-to-date with our KVUE Radar app. To download, iOS users go here. Android users go here.