AUSTIN — For the second time in less than a week, the Texas Department of Transportation is dealing with wintry weather as freezing rain falls in Central Texas.
Crews were ready Monday with supplies of de-icing materials. Equipment has been staged and is ready, as needed. TxDOT staff is currently on standby and will begin pretreating bridges and overpasses after rush-hour today.
TxDOT told KVUE Monday that the agency used more than 250 tons of a deicing solution during Thursday and Friday's ice event.
More than 100 crashes were reported by EMS and police around Austin Tuesday morning, specifically in Northwest Austin. Several roads were closed, and schools canceled classes for the day. The City of Austin announced its offices will open at noon.
EMS also responded to 20 reports of people falling on the ice.
Austin Police reported nearly 300 car crashes in a 24-hour time period last week.
Phil Ward with U.S.A. Training, a company which licenses and sets the curriculum for 250 defensive driving schools in Texas, told KVUE Monday that his best advice to avoid getting into a crash during icy conditions is to stay home.
Ward also said that steering into a skid works OK in rain, but doesn't work as well with ice.
For those who don’t have a choice but to brave the elements Tuesday morning, Ward says leave an hour early and just take it extremely slow.
Sleet, ice and freezing rain can create extremely dangerous driving conditions, which is why TxDOT strongly advises drivers to stay off the roads as much as possible. If drivers must be on the road, please remember to:
- Reduce speed
- Increase following distance
- Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, and overpasses
- Stay back at least 200 feet from vehicles treating or clearing roadways
- If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes and steer in the direction of skid
- Avoid unnecessary travel
Another important tip to remember is to stay in your vehicle at all times, even if you become involved in a crash. If one vehicle slid off the road, there’s a potential that others will follow. Staying in your vehicle could help save your life.
For additional information about statewide road conditions, go here or call 1-800-452-9292.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in place Central Texas through noon Tuesday.
Several flights were also delayed or canceled to and from Austin-Bergstrom International Aiport. Go here to check your flight's status.
Go here for tips on keeping your property safe during freezing weather.