The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) is encouraging drivers to travel carefully during winter weather this weekend. The OTA works to provide safe travel for all drivers, especially in snowy or icy conditions.

“It’s important to be prepared when winter weather conditions hit,” said Tim Gatz, OTA executive director. “OTA looks to maintain a safe transportation system for all of Oklahoma’s drivers, so we encourage everyone to stay alert, especially around snow plows and salt trucks.”

OTA reminds drivers to practice safe driving on highways and turnpikes. When getting out on the road in winter weather, drivers should:

·      Check road conditions and plan their route before heading out on highways.

·      Stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment; crews need room to maneuver and can begin plowing or spreading materials without notice. The OTA has provided a safety video showing how their snow plows and trucks operate.

·      Allow extra space between vehicles so there is the adequate distance for braking in wet and icy conditions.

·      Be aware of "black ice" which looks wet on the roadway, but is actually a thin layer of ice.

·      Be patient and allow extra time to reach destinations.

·      Save the OTA road conditions hotline to your contacts at 1-877-403-7623.

“We also recommend that all drivers put together a winter weather emergency kit with water, blankets, jumper cables, flashlights and extra batteries,” Gatz said. “You can also stay up-to-date on road conditions and find winter weather travel tips by following our Twitter handle @OKTurnpike and Facebook page. Remember: no trip is worth risking your safety. If you are not comfortable with driving, it can always wait.”

For additional information on turnpike travel conditions, please visit the OTA’s road conditions map at pikepass.com.