Iowa DOT News Release

Light snow, moderate winds and frigid temperatures combine to cause slick roadways

Posted on: January 20, 2011

AMES, Iowa – Jan. 20, 2011 –  More travel headaches could face motorists in Iowa over the next 24 hours, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation. 

Light snow is expected to fall over the northern parts of the state through Friday, and overnight low temperatures may fall well below zero in some areas. Dangerous wind chills could be a factor and the National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for the northern and northeastern sections of the state effect from 6 p.m. today until 9 a.m. Friday. 

For travelers, this combination could mean reduced visibilities, minor drifting and some slick roadways due to wheel- track glazing. Wheel-track glazing is caused by warm tires trapping  ground-level light or blowing snow. As more vehicles travel over the same wheel tracks, a glaze of ice forms. The condition is very difficult for Iowa DOT crews to treat because the ice is continuously forming on heavily traveled roadways.

Increased driving risk
For drivers, the consequences of wheel glazing can be serious; stopping distances are 10 times greater than on dry pavement and double that on packed snow.

Safety tips
Here are some tips for driving on icy roads when it is necessary.

  • On "Ice and Snow ... Take It Slow."
  • Give your full attention to the driving task. Do not use a mobile communication device while driving.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Put a safe distance between your vehicle and the other vehicles sharing the roadway.  
  • If conditions are severe enough to prevent safe driving, postpone your trip; or if en route, identify the nearest safe place to pull off the roadway, such as a rest area, truck stop, motel or other traveler service, until the wind subsides and road conditions improve.
  • Keep your windshield clear of ice and turn on your vehicle’s lights.
  • Allow extra travel time.
  • Plan ahead by checking for the latest road conditions.  



Iowa highway in the evening