Home » Snowfall, extreme cold create hazardous Ky driving conditions

Snowfall, extreme cold create hazardous Ky driving conditions

State crews battling the elements ahead of expected arctic temperatures
It can be a life saver if you keep the right supplies in your vehicle in winter.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Harsh winter weather is expected to continue into Friday evening, impacting driving conditions for Kentuckians. Motorists are advised to be prepared, to slow down and to be aware of slick roads as temperatures remain below freezing.

“We are expecting another round of extremely cold temperatures across Kentucky this weekend,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Kentuckians should watch out for slick roads and drive with caution if they have to be out.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) is tracking snow and possible freezing drizzle in Northern, Central and Eastern Kentucky. It is expected to taper off by tonight. That precipitation will be followed by below-freezing temperatures over the weekend, possibly reaching as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill.

“This winter weather persists, but so do we,” said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Jim Gray. “Our crews are focused on keeping traffic flowing on interstates and parkways first before moving to other routes. The break in the weather on Wednesday and Thursday morning allowed them to regroup and prepare equipment for this storm. They are out patrolling, treating and plowing where needed. All we ask is that you give them space to work and drive safely if you must travel.”

All state highway district crews are out plowing and treating. Some have finished addressing priority routes and are working on secondary and lower-volume routes. Winds may drift snow onto plowed roadways in some areas. KYTC has more than 2,000 state employees and contracted staff who serve during snow and ice season to keep travelers moving and safe. Staff have completed readiness checks, training and equipment maintenance to respond when the weather takes a turn. More than 1,400 state-owned and contracted plow trucks are on standby for deployment before, during and after winter weather events on Kentucky’s 28,000 miles of state-maintained roadways.

Transportation Secretary Jim Gray signed an official order on Wednesday, Jan. 17, to allow for the fastest response time from carriers delivering supplies to any affected areas.

Motorists are encouraged to follow their local highway district’s social media accounts for regional updates. Check the goky.ky.gov map for travel trips, resources and traffic conditions. The map also offers access to select traffic cameras on interstates and parkways.

To follow live updates for watches, warnings or advisories for Kentucky, please visit alerts.weather.gov.

Tips for driving during snow and icy conditions:

  • Alter travel plans to avoid driving during the peak of weather activity.
  • Drive with a full tank of gas and pack an emergency car kit that contains essential items like blankets, ice scrapers, jumper cables, a flashlight, a cell phone charger, non-perishable snacks and a first aid kit should you get stranded on the road.
  • Winterize your vehicle. Check your car battery, tire pressure and tread and brakes. Ensure your heater, defroster, headlights and windshield wipers are working properly.
  • When snow and/or ice are on roadways, drive slowly, no matter what type of vehicle you drive. It takes more time and distance to stop your vehicle in poor weather, so brake early and slowly.
  • Pay attention to weather advisories and allow more time to travel for routine commutes. Expect delays.
  • Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shaded areas. These are all candidates for developing “black ice” – a thin coating of clear ice that can form on the pavement surface that may be difficult to see.
  • Maintain a safe distance from snowplows and other heavy highway equipment, and do not pass snowplows on the shoulder.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, such as using a phone and/or eating, and always buckle up.

What to do if you see a downed power line:

  • Report it to your local utility company
  • Do not try to clear it yourself
  • Steer clear and avoid anything touching downed lines, including vehicles or tree branches.
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