TXDOT Working Overtime to Keep Roadways Safe For Drivers - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

TXDOT Working Overtime to Keep Roadways Safe For Drivers

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By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - TXDOT crews have been working overtime to keep the ice off our roads but there were still plenty of wrecks and major road shutdowns on Friday morning. NewsWest 9 spoke with Gene Powell with the Texas Department of Transportation to see what they are doing to keep the roadways safe.

"If you've lived in West Texas a long time, you know the saying, ‘is if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it'll change.' That's exactly what happened overnight," Powell said.

Freezing temperatures were the cause of at least nine different accidents before 8 a.m. Friday morning. Drivers were forced to use access roads and back roads as they made their way to their destination.

Powell can't stress enough the importance of defensive driving especially when there is ice or even snow on the roads.

"It's still incumbent upon drivers to drive defensively. Drive carefully, slow down and do all those things you need to do in winter weather," Powell said.

With these icy conditions, Powell says many drivers can get complacent and drive normal speeds when that can put other drivers in danger.

Here's a couple of tips for safety during the winter weather conditions:

  • Drive slower than normal. Speed limits are based on normal weather conditions, not for icy or snowy road conditions.
  • Stay at least three car lengths behind the car in front of you.
  • Be extra careful on bridges, ramps and overpasses because when it gets this cold outside, they are the first to freeze.
  • One more very important point, if you do start to slide, do not hit the gas or breaks instead, turn in the direction you want to go to avoid spinning and potentially hurting yourself or other drivers.    

"It takes longer to stop, it's more likely that you'll hydroplane. All those things come in. We advise people to drop their speed limit 20, 30 even 40 miles per hour under the posted speed limit depending on what road you're on," Powell said.

One more piece of advice, do not underestimate any ice patches. Ice of any size could send your car out of control.