Expect windy weekend

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Road Conditions for Southern New Mexico – The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) and local law enforcement offices will be monitoring roadways as weather conditions are expected to change with high winds, dust and low visibility in various areas throughout major roadway. Motorists are encouraged to exercise extreme caution this weekend as motorists make their travels during spring break.

Trent Doolittle, P.E., NMDOT District One Engineer, said “the NMDOT has alerted their personnel and equipment in efforts to support the need of law enforcement and emergency responders. The NMDOT will work in conjunction with emergency response in order to coordinate in their efforts with any possible traffic interference that they may encounter.”

Traffic updates will be posted on the NMDOT traffic advisory web-site at www.nmroads.com as they are reported, and can be retrieved through our automated system at 511 in state, or 1-800-432-4269.
Driving tips on windy roads:

Reduce your speed. Slowing down gives you better control over your vehicle and will allow you more time to react in the event your vehicle is struck by a strong gust of wind.

Maintain a firm 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock hand position on the steering wheel. Strong wind gusts are unpredictable, and if not holding the wheel properly, gusts can be strong enough to cause the steering wheel to be jerked out of your hands.

Look well ahead and watch for any debris on the road. High winds can cause debris to litter the highway or can even throw debris directly into your path. By looking ahead you give yourself more time to react to road hazards.

Be alert to deal with harsher road conditions. Strong winds can be an indication of other adverse weather further up the road. Be proactive and check road conditions before leaving and listen to local weather updates on your radio.

KNOW YOUR CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS

Visit the NMDOT website for current road advisory information at www.nmroads.com, or dial 511 in state or 1-800-432-4269 out of state for NM.

When driving during inclement weather avoid using cruise control so you can maintain maximum control of the gas pedal for when unpredictable gusts of wind occur.

Larger vehicles have a much more difficult time driving in wind than smaller vehicles do. This is due to an increase in surface area for the wind to push on, increasing the difficulty of handling these types of vehicles. So use extra caution and leave more space between yourself and a larger vehicle.

Keep a longer following distance from large vehicles to avoid a possible collision from the side; never drive in lanes adjacent to larger vehicles in high winds.

Be proactive and wait for the storm to blow over. If you’re driving a larger vehicle with a high surface area or are driving a van, pick-up truck with canopy, or are pulling a trailer and you encounter a high wind storm, it’s safest to pull over and take a break.

WEAR YOUR SEATBELT, and make sure ALL passengers are also “buckled up.”