Drivers urged to be careful on icy roads

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Louisiana State Police urge drivers to keep up on the latest weather and travel conditions since rain and snow can cause roads to ice over quickly, especially on bridges and overpasses and in rural areas.  As conditions change motorists are urged to use caution.

Meanwhile, DOTD trucks loaded with ethylene glycol are on standby, ready to de-ice bridges and overpasses where needed.  They also have trucks ready to spread aggregate where needed; They're on standby to be called out as needed once the temperature drops according to DOTD's Bobby Hennigan.  "Course our district covers the five parishes of Southwest Louisiana and looking at the weather reports it looks like our biggest chance of ice will be in Beauregard and Allen Parishes. So, out of our DeRidder and Oberlin offices we've also got trucks ready and people on stand by or either they'll be working all night and they'll be prepared to treat the bridges if we have icing conditions."

Rain and snow during cold weather can cause roads to ice over quickly especially on bridges and overpasses. If road conditions are truly dangerous-- their best advice is to stay home.  Hennigan says, "If you don't have to be out don't get on the road. Stay home."

State Police agree.  But if you are out and you hit a slick spot Sgt. James Anderson says how you react is key.  For one thing--make sure you don't slam on the brakes.  "The key thing in that,  is not to overreact. You should take your foot off the gas, reduce your speed. If you need to brake, brake gently and brake into the skid. You don't want to fight it. You don't want to over correct because that will more than likely cause a spin. You want to gently steer into the skid."

As well, he recommends drivers adjust speed, keep their lights on and allow more distance between cars. "If you don't need to be out in these conditions, please don't go out. If you do go out please allow extra distance. Reduce your speed."

And of course always wear seat belts and use child restraints.

To report stalled vehicles or unsafe road conditions drivers may call *LSP (*577) or for road closure information dial 511.  For the Louisiana State Police web site click here.

This DOTD office in Calcasieu oversees a 5 parish area.  Allen and Beauregard are expected to be their parishes most affected by icy conditions.

Watch later editions of 7 News for more information on the possibility of winter weather in some areas, and how to deal with the driving conditions.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.

The following is a news release from the Louisiana State Police.

Traffic Safety Tips for Winter Weather Conditions

Weather forecasts for tonight and tomorrow morning predict precipitation and freezing temperatures for much of Southwest Louisiana. The Louisiana State Police urges motorists to keep abreast of the latest weather and travel conditions before deciding whether a trip is really necessary. Rain and snow during cold weather can cause roads to ice over quickly, particularly on bridges and overpasses. If roadways accumulate ice, the Louisiana State Police will work closely with the Department of Transportation and Development and take appropriate measures.

Motorists are reminded to always wear their seat belts, use appropriate child restraints, adjust their speed, and never travel faster than conditions allow. Do not drive using the cruise control in icy conditions, allow ample time to reach your destination, allow extra space between vehicles, and keep vehicle headlights on. Should you encounter icy conditions on the roadway, it is very important that you do not brake suddenly, as this may cause a loss of control. If you begin to skid, remove your foot from the accelerator, gently apply the brakes, and steer in the direction of the skid. Do not overcorrect. The most likely place you will encounter icy conditions over the next few days will be on bridges and overpasses. Use extra caution when crossing these elevated structures. Even if there is no rain and the roadways are dry, condensation build-up on elevated structures can cause their surfaces to freeze.

To report stalled vehicles or unsafe roadway conditions, you may dial *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the State Police office closest to you. For road closure information, motorists are encouraged to dial 511 or visit