Weather forecasts currently indicate a strong possibility of rain and/or sleet along with cold weather in parts of Louisiana tonight and tomorrow. The wet precipitation on the roadways has the potential of freezing, causing ice to form. This type of weather pattern can be dangerous for motorists who are traveling along Louisiana highways as most are not accustomed to such driving conditions.
The Louisiana State Police urges motorists to keep abreast of the latest weather and travel conditions before deciding whether a trip is necessary as rain or sleet can cause bridges and overpasses to ice quickly, particularly in the evening and early morning hours if temperatures are below or near the freezing mark. If conditions deteriorate, motorists are encouraged to refrain from driving until conditions improve. If bridges/overpasses accumulate ice, the Louisiana State Police will work closely with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to take appropriate measures.
As conditions change, motorists are reminded to drive responsibly and be prepared for uncertain driving conditions. The Louisiana State Police offers the following winter weather driving tips:
- Reduce speed
- Allow extra time to reach your destination
- Allow extra space between vehicles
- Do not drive using the cruise control in icy conditions
- Anticipate stops (such as stop signs and traffic signals) and brake gently while stopping
- If you encounter a skid, take your foot off accelerator and steer into the skid till you regain control
- Use low beam headlights if it is raining/sleeting
- Ensure all vehicle occupants are properly restrained
This would be an excellent time to check the condition of your vehicle's tires, battery, windshield wipers and antifreeze. Low tread on tires can cause a vehicle to lose traction in all weather conditions. Weak batteries can prevent vehicles from starting in cold weather. Anti-freeze will protect your engine and radiator from freezing up due to cold temperatures.
If you should have vehicle problems, be sure to stay with your vehicle, as freezing temperatures can be life-threatening. Have a survival kit: emergency first aid kit, blankets, jumper cables, high-energy or dehydrated foods, flashlight with extra batteries, extra (charged) cell phone battery, emergency flares, and bottled water.
If you experience difficulties or witness hazardous situations while on the highway, notify your local State Police Troop office by dialing *LSP (*577) from your cell phone or contact your local law enforcement agency.
Citizens and visitors are also urged to enroll to receive Nixle Alerts for real time updates on roadway closures, crash locations, and pertinent safety information for their region. To enroll for this free service, visit http://www.nixle.com, complete the required information and select Louisiana State Police as your agency.