December 12, 2013

Weather creates dangerous road conditions in area

By Jerry W. Kram

As the region settles in for a second week of a cold snap, icy roads have created hazardous conditions that have led to accidents on area roads.
Two accidents on North Dakota Highway 23 this week have snarled traffic, but thankfully haven’t led to any fatalities. On Monday, a pickup slid through a stop sign at the junction with North Dakota Highway 8 and collided with a semi hauling water. On Tuesday, a propane slid off of an approach in New Town, slowing traffic to a crawl.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation warns the public with the below zero temperatures North Dakota is experiencing, travelers need to be aware that compacted ice and black ice may be encountered on roadways across the state.
Some areas have recently experienced freezing rain and snow, along with blowing and drifting snow. This is creating areas of scattered, compacted ice and making travel difficult on some roadways and bridges. Crews are working to improve road conditions, however de-icers are less effective in extremely cold temperatures. Maintenance crews are limited to applying abrasive material such as sand to provide temporary traction and using equipment to scrape the ice and compacted snow.
Motorists should also be aware of black ice on roadways. Black ice forms when temperatures drop rapidly and any moisture on the road freezes into a smooth, nearly invisible slippery surface. This thin layer of ice is very hard for motorists to detect, so drivers need to be especially vigilant in looking for changes in a road’s surface that may affect traction. In addition, ice can form from moisture being tracked onto roadways by vehicles and from vehicles’ exhaust systems.

The Weather Network