When it comes to icy roads, bridges and overpasses pose one of the most dangerous threats. During sub-freezing temperatures and heavy precipitation, bridges and overpasses accumulate snow and ice faster than regular road surfaces. Cold air hits a bridge from the top, bottom and both sides, while regular road surfaces are only hit from the top. Even when the regular road is clear, a bridge may be covered with snow and ice.
Here are some tips to stay safe on bridges and overpasses during winter road conditions:
Check the weather
During the winter months, checking the weather forecast should be a part of your daily routine. Weather awareness can help you prepare when conditions are harsh.
Everything takes longer when the roads are icy. Slow down and pay extra attention to your surroundings, especially when driving over a bridge. Accelerate and decelerate with care. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skidding on the road. Take your time and give yourself room to slow down.
Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you
When conditions deteriorate, extend the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to at least five seconds. To determine five seconds of distance, pick out an object on the side of the road, like a tree or lamp post. Note when the vehicle in front of you passes that object, and then count how long it takes you to reach it. If it takes less than five seconds, you’re following too closely.
If possible, stay home
If you don’t have somewhere to be, stay home. The best way to stay safe during winter conditions is to not be on the roads at all.
During the winter, bridges are the first to freeze and last to melt. Stay alert and follow these tips to avoid slipping and sliding.