The winter weather that's coated much of Georgia in snow and ice is predicted to leave the state sometime today, but the dangerous driving conditions will likely remain for at least a short while. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has been working to plow and salt roadways and remove fallen debris, but it cautions drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary while cleanup continues.
As sun warms many Georgia highways, snow and ice melt will create wet conditions that seem more easily passable than in the last few days. But as temperatures drop below freezing again tonight, dangerous driving conditions will return and can catch unexpecting motorists off guard with longer stopping distances and ice patches that may cause fishtailing and a loss of control.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal noted that ice is public enemy #1 in this recent blast of winter weather. He declared a state of emergency as schools closed across the state.
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there are just under 6,000,000 motor vehicle accidents each year. Just under a quarter of those crashes are related to weather conditions and just over 10 percent of those are traced back to icy pavement. In a 10-year-period, just under 600 people were killed in ice-related car accidents. The change in traction, stopping distance and general ability to control one's vehicle creates an environment ripe for serious and fatal accidents on highways and interstates cluttered with stopped or slowed traffic.
Tomorrow should be better with temperatures again reaching the 50s - something we are all much more accustomed to at this time of year.
Source: WTVM, "GDOT: Driving remains dangerous and unadvisable," February 13, 2014