Winter weather makes for dangerous roads

Published 7:00 am Friday, January 6, 2017

Thursday afternoon the Mississippi Department of Transportation and city of Picayune issued a warning to drivers who may need to hit the roads Friday; wintry precipitation could make the roads dangerous.

While cold weather is nothing new during the month of January, Fridays weather may create rainy conditions that might make the roads slick, especially on bridges where the warmth of the ground is absent.

The risk of roads becoming slick increases as the day goes on until midnight.

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Some residents may remember the winter storm of 2014, which occurred late in January. Those conditions caused a number of bridges in the area to become icy, leading to an accident on the U.S. 11 bridge over the East Hobolochitto Creek that led to the death of three people.

Bridges along Interstate 59 also became slick, leading to some vehicle accidents and dangerous conditions. Picayune Police Department officers worked more than a dozen accidents that night, involving almost two dozen vehicles.

Friday’s forecast will not be as cold or as dangerous as what occurred nearly three years ago, but should still be approached with caution.

Black ice forms along roads and bridges when conditions are right. It is called black ice because it is difficult to see.

While conditions recorded during the 2014 ice storm are rare in South Mississippi, they can occur.

As a precaution, for this and other cold weather events, avoid traveling along the roadways if you can. If you must travel during an extreme cold event, do so cautiously.

If you must drive in icy conditions, here are some tips. Accelerate and decelerate at a slow pace. Driving normally under icy conditions can cause the vehicle to lose traction.

If possible, avoid hitting the brakes. When traveling up or down hill, avoid using the brakes or accelerating quickly. Additionally, when following behind another vehicle double or triple the distance you would maintain under normal conditions.