Caution urged for drivers in the Ozarks region amid flash freezing risks

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 9:41 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Wintertime in the Ozarks can be beautiful, but it can also be an icy mess.

KY3 Meteorologist Abby Dyer forecasted flash-freezing around the Ozarks after Thursday’s round of weather, which featured snow and ice accumulations in parts of the region.

Dyer said the difference between freezing rain and a flash freeze is that freezing rain comes down and makes the roads slick right away. Flash freezing occurs when there isn’t active precipitation.

”It can happen in moments,” said Dyer. “Where we go from wet roadways to frozen roadways.”

That’s why it’s extra important to keep an eye out on the road.

“If the roads are very icy, don’t go out unless you absolutely have to,” said Bill Nelson, owner of the Springfield Driving School.

Nelson also worked with the Missouri State Highway Patrol for 30 years. When it’s icy, he says to test your brakes. Look out if your car is sliding on the pavement or if the front end is sliding.

“You want to allow an eight to ten-second gap as you travel down any street,” said Nelson. “As you approach intersections, you want to get off the accelerator and let your car start coasting towards the intersection. Start braking early.”

Nelson said to not drive distracted, especially when there’s winter weather. So refrain from eating, drinking, messing with the radio, and do not text or talk on the phone.

He said to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check for good tread on the tires and make sure your windshield wipers have enough good rubber on them.

Above all, Nelson says it’s important to stay focused on the roads.

“It only takes a second or a split lapse in judgment for something to go wrong,” said Nelson.

Nelson recommends keeping an emergency kit in your car at all times with items like blankets, food, water, phone chargers, and kitty litter for traction.

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