4 travel trouble spots during winter weather in Houston

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

HOUSTON - With temperatures that could potentially reach freezing and non-stop rain, transportation and emergency officials are asking people to take caution, especially in certain areas.

1) Bridges, especially high bridges

Areas that do not have a foundation are exposed to the cold elements and are more likely to freeze over first.

"High elevated places, we look for those -- of course we look at bridges such as the Fred Hartman, the Galveston Causeway -- our large bridges over large bodies of water," said Danny Perez with The Texas Department of Transportation. "There is airflow underneath and they tend to accumulate ice quicker than surface roadway so that's why we monitor those on a regular basis. We have hundreds of cameras in the Houston area."

2) Connector ramps

With lots of cars zipping by, connector ramps also fall into the category of non-surface roadways exposed to the elements.

"We're constantly looking at those and making sure we're getting the latest conditions," said Perez.

With hundreds of thousands of cars going through these roadways, connector ramps also include the challenge of hydroplaning.

"They're very slippery right now. I've seen a lot of cars hydroplaning and swerving side to side," said Sugar Land resident Chance Pope.

3) Back streets and side streets

The Harris County Office of Emergency Management officials say they are less worried about the main roads than they are about the ones people pay less attention to and could potentially have black ice.

WATCH: Possible snow, sleet on roadways

"One of the things we have to watch when we have precipitation and near-freezing temperatures (is black ice). It's just something we're going to have to watch. I think our freeways and our major transportation will be fine. It's going to be those smaller roads or the back roads that we're going to have to watch. Those are more of the problematic times when you can't see that," said Francisco Sanchez, OEM spokesperson. "Black ice is the most dangerous on the road because it's something you can't see."

4) Traffic

A large number of drivers and heavy rain are never a good combination. If you add near-freezing weather to the mix, the hazard list grows. Officials say during weather like this drivers should increase their following distance, plan for extra time and avoid driving while distracted.

"Stay off the phones," said Perez. "That's the biggest thing because, at any point in time, something can go wrong. If you're texting and driving and a car stops in front of you -- that could end badly."

"Give yourself some extra time. Give yourself some extra braking distance," said Sanchez.

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