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Tips for Driving on Icy Roads

By Ben Rainwater
By brainwater@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - Driving during winter weather can be dangerous and deadly. One of the Tennessee Department of Transportation's top concerns is speed.

"Just slow down," TDOT Community Relations Officer Nichole Lawrence said. "I mean a huge factor is speed, especially when the roads are icy or there's precipitation of any kind."

With ice expected to hit West Tennessee in the coming days, TDOT said they will do its part to help clear the way. But as a driver, officials say to keep an extra eye out.

"When you're cruising, you're not really in control; the vehicle is," Lawrence said. "So just make sure you're the one that's in control, your hands are on the wheel, you're not distracted by anything, and that you're the one that's controlling your speed."

TDOT officials said that usually with winter weather in the forecast, they lay down their salt mixture on the roads ahead of time. But in this case with rain projected to come first and the threat of it washing away, their job becomes a little more tricky.

"We try to get out there with our salt or our salt brine mixture, and with the temperatures low enough we'll mix in some potato juice, which is an additive we use in our salt brine to help make the ice and snow turn into slush," Lawrence said.

TDOT has 29 bins around the West Tennessee area holding 30,000 tons of salt. Officials said it will help make safer roadways, but they best thing you can do is stay put.

"If you don't have to go anywhere or be some place, best bet is to always stay home," Lawrence said. "If an emergency does occur, please give yourself plenty of time to get there."

For up to the minute roadway conditions, you can call TDOT at *511. You can also monitor the roads using TDOT's Smartway app at http://ww2.tdot.state.tn.us/tsw/smartmap.htm.