Would you hit the brakes if your car started to slide on black ice? Or turn your wheel?
If so, you may want to consider not driving until the weekend passes.
Ditto if you can’t resist the urge to drive closely behind another vehicle.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory until at least noon Friday. A freeze watch is in effect in Stone and George counties from 6 p.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Saturday.
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The weather is expected to create hazardous driving conditions that may catch motorists by surprise through Saturday.
Black ice and following too closely behind another vehicle will be the leading causes of crashes over the next few days, said Capt. Johnny Poulos of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Black ice could form on bridges and elevated roads starting Thursday night and will become an increasing concern on all roadways when temperatures drop to the upper 20’s Friday night, said Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy.
Black ice, as it’s often called, forms when the temperature on paved, wet surfaces dips close to 32 degrees. The ice is actually clear but it takes on the color of the road surface.
When you hit a patch of black ice, you’re at the mercy of your vehicle and the ice until you’ve passed over it.
If you find yourself on black ice, your car will start to slide or fish-tail. Don’t turn your wheel or put on the brakes or you will slide even more and lose control of your vehicle, according to The Weather Channel.
Instead, take your foot off the gas pedal and allow your car to stop on its own if possible.
Even if precipitation doesn’t cause sleet or snow, black ice will be a problem, Lacy said.
“Friday night will be totally a lot more different because temperatures will be very low and things will truly freeze,” he said.
“There will be more black ice on Saturday and going into Sunday.”
Drivers should travel slower than usual and expect it to take longer to reach their destinations, Lacy said.
“People need to warm up their cars before they drive off, use their whole headlights and slow down,” he said.
The MHP is discouraging people from driving unless they have no choice.
“I can’t say it strongly enough that people need to use all precautions if they get on the road,” Poulos said.
“Drive at slower speeds and don’t follow closely behind another vehicle. We see a lot of rear-end collisions. With the weather we are expecting, law enforcement will be out on the road working more rear-end collisions because people will follow too closely.”
Closings and shelters
Hancock County School District canceled classes on Friday.
The Salvation Army Cold Weather Shelter at 2019 22nd Street in Gulfport will open each night through Saturday.
Seashore Mission will open a cold weather shelter at the Fournier Multi Purpose Building at 10395 Automall Parkway in D’Iberville on Friday night.
Hancock County Emergency Management is open Old Spanish Trail Baptist Church 5078 Hwy. 90 as a cold weather shelter through Saturday morning.