Winter Weather Driving Tips for Southeast Louisiana

Staff reports

Weather forecasts for the remainder of this week predict rain and freezing temperatures for Southeast Louisiana. Unfortunately, the wet precipitation on the roadways has the potential of freezing creating “black ice,” a thin, nearly invisible coating of ice that forms on paved surfaces.

This type of weather pattern can be dangerous for motorists who are traveling along Louisiana highways, as most are not accustomed to such driving conditions.

The Louisiana State Police urges motorists to keep abreast of the latest weather and travel conditions before deciding whether a trip is necessary, as rain/snow can cause roads to ice over quickly, particularly on bridges and overpasses, and in rural areas.

If roadways accumulate ice, the Louisiana State Police will continue to work closely with the Department of Transportation and Development to take appropriate measures.

As conditions change, motorists are reminded to always wear their seatbelts correctly/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. Gently apply the brakes and steer in the direction of the skid, without overcorrecting the vehicle.

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.

This would be an excellent time to check the condition of your vehicle’s tires, battery, windshield wipers and antifreeze. Low tread on tires can cause a vehicle to lose traction in all weather conditions. Weak batteries can prevent vehicles from starting in cold weather. Anti-freeze will protect your engine and radiator from freezing up due to cold temperatures.

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 can dial 511 or visit www.511LA.org.