HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The first advice the Mississippi Highway Patrol has is unless you absolutely have to get out stay off the roads when the freezing rain starts. The Highway Patrol wants to avoid the mess we saw Friday night when troopers worked 45 accidents in South Mississippi involving more than 65 vehicles due to icy road conditions.
If you have no choice but to venture out, troopers have a few tips to better chance of reaching your destination safely. When roads and bridges become icy and slick, troopers said most wrecks are caused by drivers who don't slow down a speed appropriate for the conditions.
"Another thing is following too close,"said Lt. Johnny Poulos, Mississippi Highway Patrol Spokesperson. "When you're approaching a bridge or an overpass keep in mind that you might not see that vehicle that is either slowing its speed or stopped at the other end of the bridge. That's where we have people running into the back of other vehicles."
Mississippi Highway Patrol officials said MDOT crews are working to make bridges safer.. that doesn't mean motorists should be any less cautious while crossing.
"There is going to be an area on that bridge that sand has blown to the side," Lt. Poulos said. "The brine solution they're using could also be blown to one side of the bridge also which leaves the contact area is subjected to the elements. Again, we have the icing situation."
With roads are icy troopers say drivers shouldn't be overconfident that anti-lock brakes will help them stop quickly.
"The computer measures the amount of resistance on the roadway. Well, keep in mind in icy conditions there is no resistance between the surface of the road and the tires," said Lt. Poulos. "So if you feel the vehicle is going to go into a skid try to stay off of the brakes and steer the vehicle into the direction of the skid. Hopefully there will be an area there that you can regain control of the vehicle or not make contact with another vehicle."
Troopers said another major reason for many of Friday's wrecks was that many people couldn't see through their windshields.
"Icing is going to occur on your windshield. Windshield wipers will not get that ice off," said Lt. Poulos. "Here again creating a visibility issue and cause your vehicle to be involved in a crash and cause injury to others."
Three people died in a car accident in Pearl River County on Friday. Troopers said they are hoping to avoid any more tragedies as this weather sets in.