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AMARILLO –  With the potential for not only snow, but especially flash freezing as the New Year begins, the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Amarillo District asks everyone to enjoy the first day of the year indoors. The National Weather Service office in Amarillo says some snowfall accumulation is expected, especially in the northern portion of the Texas panhandle and the western Oklahoma panhandle. Widespread cold air will move through the areas with the potential for subzero wind chills both Saturday and Sunday mornings.

 

Over the last two days, TxDOT’s crews have pretreated major arterials, bridges, overpasses, and other areas prone to freezing. Crews will also monitor conditions overnight and into the weekend, treating areas as needed.

 

While TxDOT and its crews do their best to keep roadways safe, drivers must still to do their part and take precautions when driving in hazardous winter conditions. If you must drive, anticipate travel delays. Plan head and allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination.

Remember that everyone on the road is dealing with the same conditions. Be courteous to other drivers so everyone can safely get to where they are going. Reduce your speed and increase your following distance. Carry an emergency kit (with food, water, blankets, etc.) in your vehicle. Other important tips to remember:

Always use caution on icy or slick roads. Slow down when approaching turns, bridges and shaded spots.

Don’t tailgate. Increase the space between you and the vehicle in front of you by allowing at least three times the normal following distance.

When you must stop, brake gently and use slow, steady pushes to test traction.  

Don’t use cruise control. Cruise control can quickly turn into “lose control” in icy conditions.  

If you find yourself in a skid, stay calm and keep both hands on the wheel. Take your foot off the gas, look where you want to go, and then steer in that direction.  

Give extra space to vehicles that may be parked on the side of the road. Move over a lane when you see a vehicle with its flashing lights on, such as a tow truck, law enforcement vehicle, emergency vehicle, or TxDOT vehicle.

And if you don’t have to travel, stay home.

 

It is important to also note that conditions on roadways can change rapidly even with proactive measures. The unpredictable and fast-changing severe Texas weather can still result in some ice accumulating. If you must drive, check weather forecasts and visit DriveTexas.org or call 800-452-9292 to see conditions and closures on your planned route. If you find yourself stranded or facing an emergency, call 9-1-1.

 

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