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Road Conditions: What they mean

Rode Conditions

A motorist on Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, gets three pairs of helping hands Dec. 24 as a blizzard rips through North Texas, dumping between 10-15 inches of snow and ice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Harry Tonemah)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Texas is a unique place to live – you will see temperatures range from the low 100’s in the summer to sub-freezing in the winter. 


When road conditions are affected by climate, it’s important to take the proper precautions necessary to avoid injury to yourself and others. 


To prepare motorists entering base for road conditions, the 82nd Security Forces Squadron will display road condition signs at the gates to warn motorists of on-base, weather-related driving conditions.


The following travel conditions are used to define road conditions on and off base and how drivers should respond.


Green - This condition describes normal day-to-day travel conditions.


Yellow - This condition describes roads having icy patches. Drive with caution and below the normal speed limit. This is a general warning and the risk of injury or personal damage is minimal. Drivers should be alert for potential loss of traction.


Red - This condition describes roads that are extremely hazardous and covered with snow, ice, standing water, heavy precipitation or fog that limits visibility. Personnel should only drive for essential tasks. Drivers should expect loss of vehicle traction and longer stopping distances. Base speed limits are automatically reduced to 15 mph.


Black - This condition describes road conditions that are too severe. This sign is posted after the installation commander has closed the base to prevent vehicle movement or create an immediate risk of significant personal injury or property damage.


There are a few tips to remember if you must drive during icy conditions. 


“Accelerate and decelerate slowly,” said Mackenzie Dunmeyer, 82nd Training Wing safety specialist. “Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction. Drive slowly, everything takes longer when you are driving in snowy conditions.  Ensure that you maintain a safe interval between you and the cars ahead of you according to the road conditions.”


Becoming familiar with your vehicles capabilities before you drive during icy conditions is also highly recommended.


“If your vehicle is equipped with antilock brakes, you will not need to pump your brakes because your vehicle will do it for you,” Dunmeyer said. “If you do not have antilock brakes, then manually pumping your brakes can help maintain control on slippery and icy roads.  Make sure you know your car before driving in wintry conditions; it can save your life.”