Improving Tennessee Winter Road Safety

Last winter’s unexpectedly heavy snowfall caught the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) off guard and struggling to keep roads safe for travelers. Today, the department is much better prepared. “This year, we have taken steps to ensure we have the supplies we need to keep our roads clear of ice and snow,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer in an article for TN.gov.

TDOT’s new winter weather budget – up nearly a million to $15.5 million – covers costs for snow removal crew overtime, equipment maintenance, salt, and salt brine – a salt/water mixture – to keep interstates, state highways and county roads in Tennessee’s 95 counties free of snow and ice. The importance of highway safety crews cannot be understated. Roads that are slicked by rain, ice or snow can create dangerous conditions. Memphis car accident attorneys have worked with drivers and passengers who’ve been seriously injured after a weather-related car crash.

TDOT SmartWay Mobile Tool Informs Travelers on Winter Road Conditions

A comprehensive new information tool also allows Tennessee travelers to make informed decisions on road conditions. The new TDOT SmartWay Mobile website allows smartphone users to tap into a wealth of information on travel conditions throughout the state. The website – M.tdot.tn.gov/SmartWay/ – provides state traffic camera video, weather advisories, construction and road incident information and displays posted on overhead dynamic message signs.

Tips for Safe Winter Driving on Tennessee Roads

Staying safe requires drivers to examine habits and make weather-related changes. According to TDOT, the key to winter driving safety is simple – slow down! The slow and cautious approach applies to almost everything – accelerating, braking, merging, approaching intersections, bridges and off-ramps. In addition:

  • Give yourself some space. It’s harder to stop on slick roads, so don’t drive too close to the car in front of you.
  • Brake slowly and carefully when you need to, but never drive so fast or close that you need to slam on the brakes.
  • Forget the cruise control. Instead, stay alert and ready to respond quickly to changing conditions.
  • Stay away from the snow plow. Drivers often have limited visibility so driving too close may be dangerous. If you stay behind the plow, the road is much safer. If you must pass, use caution.
  • Clear all snow from your vehicle to improve visibility – for you and other drivers.
  • Wear your seatbelt.

Good road maintenance, up-to-date weather information, and safe driving habits can help you navigate the road safely during unpredictable winter weather. If you’re involved in a weather-related car accident, a personal injury attorney can help you secure the money you need to recover from your injuries and to replace or repair any damaged property.