New Mexico – State Transportation Secretary Designate Alvin C. Dominguez announced Monday, January 31, 2011 that highway crews were being mobilized in anticipation of the first severe winter storm of 2011. The storm has impacted a large portion of the entire state with most regions under winter storm warnings or winter weather.
"Highway maintenance crews will be working 12-hour shifts, 24-hours a day throughout the duration of the storm, carefully monitoring conditions and plowing, sanding and salting the roadways as necessary," Secretary Designate Dominguez said. "Our efforts will be coordinated with State Police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that timely and accurate information is provided to the traveling public.
Frank Guzman, District One Engineer stated "The crews in southern New Mexico have been working in areas of Grant, Socorro, Hidalgo, Sierra and Dona Ana counties. The district will continue working closely with law enforcement until conditions change."
The District will post alerts throughout the storm to monitor road conditions; update the road advisory website (www.nmroads.com) and the road advisory hotline 511 to inform motorists about road conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, increasing amounts of snow paired with arctic temperatures and wind gusts up to nearly 40 miles per hour will make its way through portions of New Mexico today. Dangerously cold temperature with wind chills tonight through Thursday, February 3, 2011.
The Department reminds motorists to travel with caution and take heed of the following winter weather driving tips:
* REDUCE YOUR SPEED
o The best accident prevention on snow and ice is to SLOW DOWN and leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you for emergencies.
* PRACTICE GOOD WINTER DRIVING TECHNIQUES
o Keep your gas tank full, turn on your head lights, keep your windshield washer fluid full with antifreeze, keep winter driving chains in your vehicle, have a winter survival kit which includes - flashlight, hand warmer packets, first aid supplies, high energy snacks and read your owners manual for special instructions on driving 4-wheel drive vehicles and vehicles with ABS on snow and ice.
* AVOID DRIVING INTO A SNOW CLOUD
o Large vehicles, such as semi-trailer trucks and snow plows, may produce dense clouds of blowing snow that make it difficult for drivers to see. When drivers encounter snow clouds, they should stay back to avoid the cloud.
* PLAN AHEAD AND BE PATIENT
o Delays are common during bad weather. Leave a little early and be patient with delays.
* CHECK BEFORE YOU PASS
o Know where a snow plow and blade are before trying to pass. On multi-lane highways, the plow can be in your blind spot. Before attempting to pass make sure it is safe.
* PAY ATTENTION TO WEATHER FORCASTS - TRUST THEM
o Winter storms in New Mexico can become severe very quickly, so stay tuned to weather forecasts when planning your trip.
* DON'T USE CRUISE CONTROL
o Never use cruise control when the roads are in slippery conditions. Using your cruise control can reduce your control of the vehicle if your tires begin to skid or slip.
* KNOW YOUR CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS
o Visit the NMDOT website for current road advisory information at www.nmroads.com, or dial 511.
* WEAR YOUR SEATBELT
Wear your seatbelt and make sure all passengers also "buckle up."
For more information contact District One, NMDOT PIO Bridget Spedalieri, (575) 640-5981.