Gov. Beshear Warns of Highway Hazards Posed by Sudden Freezing After Rain, Snow Melt-off
“It’s tempting to think the danger has passed because rising temperatures and rain this weekend have combined to rapidly melt snow and ice from our roadways,” Gov. Beshear said. “Unfortunately, temperatures are expected to drop dramatically this evening, overnight and into Monday morning. The result will be flash freezing and the onset of ‘black ice’ that will make driving difficult. The snow may be nearly gone, but the need for extreme caution remains. Avoid nonessential travel.”
The National Weather Service says rain will taper off west to east today, with rapidly dropping temperatures following the same pattern. Rain can be heavy at times, and wind will pick up, bringing in cold air in gusts.
Areas of highest exposure will be Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky, where a number of counties already were dealing with flooding and rockslides.
“This type of weather presents several challenges for our highway crews,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “These ‘whiplash temperatures’ combined with rain can cause slopes along roadways to become unstable, and rock slides are the result. There is a danger of downed trees blocking roadways and bringing down power lines. Our crews will be carrying chain saws as well as salt and other equipment.”
Keep Kentucky Moving Safely
Safe roadways are a shared responsibility, especially during inclement weather when risks increase. KYTC encourages motorists to prepare for winter and remain safe by following these tips:
- Travel only as necessary during major winter weather events. Stock vehicles with ice scrapers, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, cell phone charger, non-perishable snacks and first aid kit should you be stranded on the road.
- Winterize vehicles. Have your car battery, tire pressure and brakes checked. Make sure your heater, defroster, headlights and windshield wipers are working properly.
- When snow and/or ice are on roadways, drive slowly no matter what type of vehicle you’re in. It takes more time and distance to stop your vehicle in poor weather conditions, so brake early and slowly.
- Pay attention to weather advisories and allow more time to travel for routine commutes.
- Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shaded areas. These are all candidates for developing black ice – a thin coating of clear ice that can form on the pavement surface that may be difficult to see.
- Maintain a safe distance from snowplows and other heavy highway equipment and do not pass snowplows on the shoulder.
- Know before you go. Download the free WAZE app or visit goky.ky.gov to check traffic conditions before you travel. The map also offers access to select traffic cameras on interstates and parkways.
- Eliminate distractions while driving (e.g. using phone and eating).
- Cooperate with the expectations of the Quick Clearance law, which requires drivers to move vehicles to the shoulder in the event of a non-injury crash.
- Throughout the winter season, KYTC will be highlighting Kentuckians who serve on the frontlines and behind the scenes of the cabinet’s snow and ice removal efforts. Follow @KYTC and like us on facebook.com/kytc120. Follow your local KYTC Department of Highways district office on Twitter and Facebook for regional transportation updates. The cabinet’s snow and ice information website, snowky.ky.gov, provides details about priority routes, helpful winter weather tips, fact sheets and videos on salt application and snow removal.