MDOT Provides Safety Tips for Nate

As Tropical Storm Nate moves into the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) advises the traveling public to prepare in advance, stay informed and know what actions to take to stay safe during and after severe weather conditions.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued hurricane and storm surge warnings for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. NHC forecasts Nate to make landfall as a Category 1 storm (winds near 80 mph) late Saturday night into early Sunday morning. Motorists should expect severe weather conditions, including potentially damaging winds, heavy rainfall and flash flooding.

MDOT began response efforts Thursday and will continue to monitor the state’s interstates and highways 24/7 throughout the duration of this weather event. Motorists are advised to follow @MississippiDOT on Twitter and Facebook and stay updated on current traffic and travel conditions at www.MDOTtraffic.com, download the MDOT Traffic mobile app or call 511 in Mississippi. Flooded roadways or debris blocking roadways should be reported to local law enforcement.

MDOT urges motorists to stay off roadways during severe weather events and has these safety tips for travel before, after and during disaster emergencies:

• buckle up for safety;
• slow down, especially during heavy downpours;
• allow more space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you;
• brake early to allow plenty of time to stop;
• brake gently to avoid skidding and never slam on the brakes;
• turn on lights to be more visible to other motorists;
• stay alert and look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do;
• use headlights whenever conditions require the use of windshield wipers;
• during a tornado, leave your car and find shelter in a sturdy structure or ditch; and
• turn around, don’t drown on flooded roadways.

During heavy winds, motorists are advised to be on high alert for debris and workers clearing roadways. Do not use cruise control when the roads are wet. The distance it takes to stop increases in these conditions. For more severe weather safe driving tips, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.

“Remember to avoid flooded roadways under any circumstances and to never drive through a flooded or barricaded area,” said Melinda McGrath, MDOT executive director. “When traveling at night, motorists need to be especially cautious as it is harder to recognize flood conditions.”

MDOT also offers several free resources to help prepare for hurricane conditions. Download a free copy of the 2017 Hurricane Evacuation Guide, disaster kit checklist and view instructional videos on how to prepare at GoMDOT.com/hurricanes. The guide features information to assist in developing a preparedness plan such as evacuation routes, contraflow information, radio coverage areas through Mississippi Public Broadcasting and important contact information from the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross and bordering state DOTs and highway patrols.

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