Sudden flash freezing, black ice possible

Published 12:24 pm Thursday, January 20, 2022

As rain and subfreezing temperatures head toward south Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) warns drivers of the potential dangers on the roadway.

Motorists can expect the possibility of sudden flash freezes and black ice on highways, especially bridges.

Currently, MDOT crews in southeast Mississippi are doing limited pre-treatment of some roadways with salt and brine. Due to the light rain, these treatments may not be effective, and drivers are advised to use caution while traveling on the roadways.

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“Our crews are constantly monitoring the weather and updates from the National Weather Service to ensure they are ready to respond, but our men and women can only do so much; it comes down to you the driver,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “We advise people to stay off the roadway and avoid travel during this winter storm to keep you and your family safe.”

Different materials are used for specific winter weather events. Salt brine can be sprayed on dry road surfaces to help prevent ice formation on travel lanes. If the roads are already wet, granular salt can be applied to help prevent the formation of ice by lowering the freezing point of water. Sand and slag can also be spread to help improve traction in slushy conditions.

Crews will continuously monitor the roadways and will be ready to respond; they have prepared equipment making sure all response vehicles are fueled and running properly. They have also stockpiled salt, sand and asphalt slag piles.

To assist the traveling public in preparing for potential winter weather conditions, MDOT offers the following safe driving tips.

  • Remember, ice will form on bridges and overpasses quicker than the road.
  • Slow down. Winter weather conditions can create black ice.
  • Allow more space between your car and the vehicles around you.
  • Brake early and gently to avoid skidding. Never slam on the brakes.
  • Avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on a cell phone.

For more information on how to prepare for winter weather, visit For real-time road conditions on Mississippi’s highways and bridges, visit and follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook and Twitter.