TXDOT prepares roads for winter storm

The Texas Department of Transportation sprayed brine on roads Wednesday in preparation of an upcoming winter storm. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

A winter storm is headed to the Texas Panhandle, but the Texas Department of Transportation is already getting the roads ready for snow, freezing rain and/or ice.

The storm comes right as a new survey shows Texas is ranks third for most aggressive drivers during the holidays.

“I have experienced it first-hand driving up and down 287 and I-40,” said Amarillo resident Nancy Kritser. “They are in a hurry to get home, go shop or meet friends or whatever and that frustration level can escalate.”

“I was just in Dallas and they are very aggressive there, but I didn’t think Texas would be in third,” said Amarillo resident Paul Jones.

TXDOT Amarillo District Public Information Officer Sonja Gross says she experienced distracted driving on her way to her interview with ABC 7 News Wednesday afternoon.

“I was appalled,” said Gross. “I couldn’t believe it. We were going through a construction zone. There were several workers in the far-left lane of I-40 westbound, very close to the road. Traffic was in the other two lanes. This lady was going down the center lane in concert with the construction traffic we have to the left of her and I kept seeing her look down, look down, look down. She wasn’t slowing down for the construction zone. She wasn’t paying attention to the construction traffic. We’re all very lucky she did a fantastic job, a phenomenal job of maintaining her lane because had she not, we could have lost lives today.”

It is something drivers are extra aware of this time of year, especially with a winter storm approaching.

“It is very scary. We drive back and forth to San Antonio and Dallas and especially on the holidays, you don’t want to be scared while you’re out on the road,” said Jones.

TXDOT has prepared most major interstates, highways, and farm-to-markets roads across the Lone Star state by putting brine on them.

Gross says the saltwater mixture is most effective when put down 48 hours before a storm.

“It provides somewhat of a protective barrier, if you will, between your tires and the roadway and it does that by helping to slow down the process of that ice forming in the first place,” said Gross.

“TXDOT does a really good job especially in the Panhandle. I’m originally from south Texas and they don’t do nearly as good a job as they do here,” said Jones.

Gross says if drivers follow her new motto, it might help end the streak of deaths on Texas roadways, that now spans 18 years and more than 66,000 deaths

“'Drive to conditions not to destinations', because if you don’t drive to conditions, you’ll never reach your destination, at least not in the manner you’d like,and that’s safe and sound,” said Gross.

That means slowing down, paying attention, and giving yourself plenty of space between you and other vehicles, and time to get to where you’re going.

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