Drivers should be prepared for hazardous driving conditions - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Drivers should be prepared for hazardous driving conditions

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews across western Kentucky are on alert and prepared to respond the winter storm.

KYTC says drivers should be prepared for hazardous driving conditions for about the next three to four days. The cold temperatures will mean a flat tire or dead battery that might normally be an inconvenience can become a life-threatening situation very quickly.

The extreme cold creates a number of hazards beyond the initial snowfall. Drivers are asked to be fully prepared for temperatures that will be down into the single digits and below zero at times.

The extreme cold will generate a light fluffy snow in some areas. Combined with wind it will create the opportunity for drifting that may further complicate driving conditions.

This storm will compare to the Christmas Week Storm in December of 2004. That storm created adverse driving conditions that closed a section of I-24 following a truck crash in Lyon County. The crash allowed snow to drift in around stopped vehicles bringing traffic to a standstill for 36 hours. The 8 to 12 inches in the forecast for Monday would put it in the top 10 all time winter storms for this region.

District 1 Crews with the KYTC are planning to report starting at midnight to prepare for arrival of the main snowfall expected to start around 3 a.m. in the Paducah area. Contract trucks are also scheduled to report at that time. State and contract trucks will remain on standby to respond to possible slick spots as the snow starts arriving over the area around midnight with the main storm expected to arrive around 3 a.m.

If you plan to travel, even short distances, make sure you are fully prepared for the extreme conditions.

Wear clothing appropriate for the temperature and weather conditions.

If you have an extended commute and feel compelled to try to make it to work, please consider planning to stay at a site closer to your workplace.

You should also consider carrying emergency food and water supplies, as well as taking extra clothes in case you are unable to make it home.

The colder than normal temperatures create the opportunity for a very dry and fluffy snow.

Combined with the wind, this provides an opportunity for drifting which adds an extra element of hazard to this event.

KYTC crews have pre-treated most highways across the region.

That will help in the early hours of the event. Crews will be getting plows on the road fairly quickly as the snow starts to accumulate.

Once temperatures drop below about 18 degrees the salt and other ice-fighting chemicals being spread will have greatly reduced impact.

Low overnight temperatures will greatly limit the ability of highway crews to improve driving conditions after dark through about Thursday.

This is likely to be an issue on the morning commute Monday.

Highway crews will be putting in extra effort on Monday in an attempt to get highways as clear as possible before overnight temperatures plummet on Monday night with lows getting down into the single digits through the week.

According to Illinois State Police, here are a few safety tips that drivers should keep in mind during a winter weather driving event:

  • Plan ahead and check the forecast - Determine if the trip is necessary during inclement weather.
  • Don't crowd the plow – remember, a snowplow operator's field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
  • Watch out for black ice – roads that appear clear may be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and shady areas – all are prone to black ice.
  • Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle's fuel line from freezing.
  • Dress warmly for the weather—dress in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
  • Make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
  • Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
  • Always carry a cell phone and always wear a safety belt.
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