NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The sun and wind helped clear some of the ice from roads on Wednesday, but during the overnight, another threat develops as water on the roads re-freezes after sunset and dangerous black ice form.
Some questioned the shutdowns, but anyone who was forced to be on the road today could tell why. Alex Aoiasih said, "This is too slippery, but I do have experience because I'm from the north so I know how to drive in the snow." Larry Rankins said, "I took my time. It took about an hour to get to work though, but it's good." He said it usually only takes 20 minutes.
Melissa Matey with the Louisiana State Police said the department responded to more than 40 crashes before noon. An early morning crash in Jefferson Parish claimed the life of an eight-month-old baby boy. Officials say ice played a factor in his mother's car ending up in the canal. The boy's mother was critically injured.
In New Orleans, Shelbe Fowler slid several times while on a food run just blocks from Xavier University. She said, "Like at least 3 (times) in the car we slid over those potholes so just be really careful." We will continue to see plenty of icy patches and one thing that's so difficult is that it's very hard to see. What makes it so dangerous is that it's nearly transparent like water on the roadway. That's why it's referred to as black ice. It's more common when partially melted slush or water refreezes.
Jermaine Carney said, "More deceleration and less acceleration." Carney is an owner and instructor with New Orleans Safe Driving School. He says if you have to get on the road being attentive is most important. Carney said, "Driving in this type of weather you have to keep a good following distance, you can't tail gate and you can't slam on the brakes."
If you do hit ice stay calm. Carney said, "If you can avoid slamming on your brakes you should be ok." Carney says take your foot off the gas and turn your wheel in the direction you are sliding. He said, "Hopefully within another ten feet you'll run into some dry pavement and your front wheels should start going in the direction of your back wheels and then you'll be able to maintain control of the vehicle."
Making sure you have at least a one sixteenth of an inch tire tread and proper pressure will also help you maintain control. Carney said, "Don't panic, keep your hands on the wheel."
Staying off the highway is still best advice. Shelbe Fowler said, "Stay off these streets." If you have to travel look for glossy spots in the road and use these tips to stay safe.