TYLER, Texas — Almost all road authorities agree: with threats of icy asphalt and sleet for the next week, the best way to stay safe is to stay home.
But for some, work, school or errands make staying home impossible. That’s why local law enforcement agencies have a list of places you should avoid driving.
“We want to recommend everyone stay off bridges and overpasses,” Tyler Police Department Public Information Officer Andy Erbaugh said. “The one that stands out the most is the Beckham Avenue overpass…that one ices up over most everything.”
Erbaugh also warns that the overpass on West Cumberland could also be dangerous.
Kathi White, Texas Department of Transportation’s public information officer, says they’ve had teams working “around the clock” to treat heavily traveled roads with brine to keep them from icing over.
TxDOT starts treating interstates and highways first, like I-20, US 175 and 259, and HWY 31 and 64.
Erbaugh says a good way of finding an alternate route is to remember that “the more traveled the roads are, the easier they’ll be to travel.”
White recommends that if citizens come across roads that are dangerous to call the local TxDOT office. Both the cities of Tyler and Longview will respond to calls about icy roads as well.
Another obstacle to steer clear of: hills.
“Believe it or not, there are a lot more hills in Tyler than people are aware of,” Erbaugh said.
Cars can slide down them if the roads are icy, especially in the early morning before roads have been traveled on or thawed.
Erbaugh warns that drivers should stay away from steep inclines, like the large hill on Shiloh Road by the Shiloh Road Learning Center or the hill on Broadway that stretches from Front Street to Downtown.
On Friday, the Longview Police Department implemented a new site that will track road closures and blocks amid the incoming weather. Office Brandon Thornton, Longview Police Department’s information officer, says dispatchers will update this map “24 hours day” as reports on road conditions come in.
“If they do it right, it should show you from start to finish where it’s [the road] is closed,” Thornton said. “We’ve even been trying to put in suggestions on alternate routes.”
But Thornton also says there are some roads to expect being closed around the Longview-area, like North Eastman Road and Alpine Road due to worries the overpasses over E Loop 281 will freeze. Drivers on East George Richey Road are being detoured as of Saturday morning due to ice on the bridge.
Thornton also suggests avoiding large hills like the ones on South High Street or the incline between Nelson and Garfield Street.
Officials also recommend keeping larger distances between your car and others to allow you to come to a stop at a slower and safe pace.
“Stay alert to changing conditions, be patient and be cautious,” White said. “You have to change with the conditions and you have to change your driving behaviors. You can’t drive on an icy road like you drive on a dry road.”
But the best way to think about driving in ice and snow?
“Drive like your Grandma AKA Memaw is riding with you in her Sunday best, carrying a big ‘ol pot of stew for the potluck,” Tyler Police Department’s Facebook post says. “You know you can’t get a drop on her dress so slow down and give yourself plenty of room to brake.”
If you are driving and get stuck or have a wreck, Erbaugh suggests two steps:
- Call a tow truck
- Call your local law enforcement agency
“We will respond to accidents,” Erbaugh said. “We will have everyone at the ready. Two hundred sworn officers in Tyler and we’ll be ready to help if needed.”