TxDOT Is Pretreating Highways Ahead Of Possible Freezing Rain Wednesday

Dec 31, 2018

A mix of rain and freezing rain is possible in Austin late Tuesday night into Wednesday. Crews started pretreating Austin highways at 9 a.m. Monday for potential ice, the Texas Department of Transporation said.

A forecast map from the National Weather Service shows the Hill Country, including western parts of Austin and Travis County, in the possible area for freezing rain. There is currently no chance of snow or sleet accumulations. 

Central and downtown Austin are just outside of the forecast area for freezing rain. As of Monday morning, the forecast low for Tuesday night in Austin is 36° F with a 70 percent chance of rain Wednesday. 

Here's what you need to know if you're hitting the road on Wednesday:

1. Use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses. Those are the first to freeze, TxDOT warns.

2. Slow down. A vehicle needs at least three times more space to stop on a slick road. Do not apply the brakes suddenly, and avoid using cruise control, so you can react better if you encounter slippery roads.

3. Do you see emergency vehicles or flashing lights ahead? Slow down! And stay at least 200 feet away from the back of a de-icing truck.

A TxDOT de-icing truck ready to pretreat Austin highways.
Credit Texas Department of Transportation

4. Be patient. Your trip time could be a lot longer with adverse weather conditions. Keep to main roads and avoid taking shortcuts on roads that may not have been treated.

5. Finally, check fuel, tire, oil and antifreeze levels before heading out, TxDOT suggests. Make sure your car's heater, brakes and windshield wipers are working properly. 

Work crews and trucks will be on standby to respond to any ice situations.

After Wednesday, you can expect sunny — but very cold — days with lows in the 30s. The NWS warns that wind chills Wednesday and Thursday morning will possibly be in the teens and 20s.