OHP and ODOT Warn Drivers Of The Dangers Of Winter

Friday, December 7th 2007, 12:50 pm
By: News On 6

As winter weather approaches, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol are urging people to be prepared for possible upcoming snow and ice advisories. The departments are issuing warnings to help end 2007 without more deaths on Oklahoma roadways.

According to a statement released by ODOT on Friday, there are 1,200 ODOT maintenance and contractor personnel and 500 trucks statewide preparing for possible hazardous conditions. ODOT says they have 130,000 tons of the sand and salt mixture used to clear snow and ice, and a new shed is being built in Tulsa to house the mixture.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is also urging people to exercise extreme caution during this time.

“With increased travel for Christmas and New Year holidays just around the corner, we’re wanting to remind the public that they’ll need to modify their driving behavior as the potential for icy roads approaches,” said Captain Chris West, spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “We really need people to ensure their vehicles are ready to operate in cold weather.”

Both departments are asking motorists to exercise caution during this time by abiding the following recommendations:

  • Use caution when near sand trucks; treat them as emergency vehicles

  • Stay behind 200 feet or more to avoid damage

  • Never pass sand/snow trucks

  • Decrease your speed and leave plenty of room to stop

  • Brake gently to avoid skidding

  • Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses as they will freeze first

  • Always drive with your lights on

  • Keep your lights and your windshield clean

  • Never use cruise control on icy roads

  • Four-wheel or front-wheel drive vehicles are not better at handling icy roads than others

  • Have water, blankets, and a fully charged cell phone in your vehicle

  • Get road conditions from ODOT before leaving your business/home

If you find yourself stranded or are in an accident, OHP’s emergency number is *55. An OHP trooper will respond as soon as possible.

Drivers who must travel are advised to call the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety’s statewide road condition’s number at 1-888-425-2385 or visit www.dps.state.ok.us. For all local inquiries, ODOT advises calling local city or county offices.

For out of state road conditions:

  • Arkansas – 1-800-245-1672

  • Colorado – 1-303-639-1111

  • Kansas – 1-866-511-5368

  • Missouri – 1-800-222-6400

  • New Mexico – 1-800-432-4269

  • Texas – 1-800-452-9292

For more advanced information: KOTV's Weather Tools: Travel Information