TxDOT is gearing up to protect the traveling public and roadways for the upcoming winter.
The Childress District's 13-county maintenance sections are busy testing winter weather roadway equipment, such as snow plows, material spreaders, safety lighting and other necessary equipment, and are ready if and when inclement weather occurs.
TxDOT also has been stocking up on winter deicing materials. According to Darwin Lankford, TxDOT director of operations, “Each maintenance section is required to order and have in stock at least 500 cubic yards of salt and extra snow plow blades.”
The agency also will use brine material on roads to help pretreat them in advance of a storm.
The safety of the traveling public is a TxDOT priority, and it responds to snow and ice situations as quickly as possible. Motorists also can do their part by driving carefully and following these guidelines:
• Use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses — These are the first to freeze.
• Reduce speed and drive with caution — A vehicle needs at least three times more space to stop on a slick roadway. Do not apply the brakes suddenly, and avoid using cruise control, so that you can respond better if you encounter slippery roads. Slow down when approaching emergency or maintenance vehicles, especially when their flashing lights are on. The law requires you to maintain a distance of at least 200 ft. (61 m) when approaching a snow plow, and do not pass on the right. Visibility also can be reduced during winter weather conditions.
• Be patient — Your trip time (including short commutes to work) could increase when adverse weather conditions exist. Also, keep to the main roads and avoid taking shortcuts through territory that may not have been plowed.
• Winterize vehicles before traveling during adverse weather — Check fuel, tire, oil and antifreeze levels. Make sure heater, brakes and windshield wipers are working properly.
• Check area weather conditions on radio or television before starting a trip.
To help drivers during adverse weather conditions, DriveTexas.org is one of the best resources for drivers to get up-to-date road condition information any time of the year, as well as information on construction projects and crashes.
“Information is directly coming from maintenance offices — people who are on the ground — and they are inputting this information in the system,” said Barbara Seal, Childress District public information officer..
The TxDOT Childress District includes the counties of: Wheeler, Donley, Collingsworth, Briscoe, Hall, Childress, Hardeman, Motley, Cottle, Foard, Dickens, King and Knox.