Science With Sabrina: Winter Roads

We’ve already had winter weather this month, and we’ll likely see some more this season. The big problem is our roads become icy. Meteorologist Sabrina Bates explains where the slickest spots are in this week’s Science With Sabrina.  

Winter comes with a glaze of ice on your car. It gets even worse when you get on the roads, and they're slick. With winter weather, that's always a possibility.

Anytime the temperature drops to near or below freezing we run the risk of our roads becoming slick. This can be from rain, sleet, or snow.

But, there's a few areas that are more prone to turning slick than others. These are elevated surfaces, such as bridges and overpasses.

On a normal road, the heat from the earth could manipulate the road temperature. If the ground temperature is too warm, rain won't freeze and snow won't stick.

Bridges and overpasses are different. There's no heating happening. Cold air is able to flow above the road and under the road. This allows for the road temperature to get colder, faster.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation, or ArDOT, knows this is true too, especially on Interstate 49.

ArDOT spokesman, Danny Straessle, explained, "With the high elevation that this highway is in, with the height of some of the overpasses, it's likely that these structures are your first challenge areas anytime the temperature goes below freezing."

Another challenge for drivers is the elevation change in the mountains.

You start at an elevation of over 400 feet in Alma, then climb up the terrain to near 1800 feet in Winslow before you drop a bit as you head into the plateau of Northwest Arkansas. These slight inclines can cause your vehicle to lose traction.

Segment Sponsored By: Sylvan Learning


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