Turn off sprinklers to prevent black ice


As overnight temperatures begin dipping below freezing this week, the Georgia Department of Transportation reminds citizens to turn off sprinkler systems with automatic timers. Sprinkler systems operating in freezing temperatures create hazardous, black ice conditions for motorists the next morning. Every year the Department sees traffic incidents caused by these icy spots formed when water from sprinklers creeps onto the roadway. 


Georgia DOT urges the public to take a moment to turn off sprinklers during forecasted cold evenings. Also, sub-freezing temperatures mean motorists should remain alert and observant for icy patches or black ice, especially during the early morning hours. 


Black ice is a thin, often invisible sheet of ice that forms on the roadway, especially on bridges and overpasses and low lying areas. It can form at any time when temperatures drop below freezing and there is any form of moisture, from sprinklers, run-off or precipitation on the roadway. 


With the winter season upon us, Georgia DOT reminds everyone to remain vigilant with these key steps:

  • The threat of black ice on roadways is possible whenever there is a winter weather event.  Beware of black ice (especially on bridges and overpasses) and watch for fallen trees or power lines.
  • Avoid driving unless absolutely necessary; postpone travel until daylight hours when road conditions such as black ice are more visible.
  • Do not pass a Georgia DOT dump truck spreading the salt/gravel mixture, as gravel may kick up and could break car windshields. Follow at least 100 feet behind Department vehicles.
  • Be aware of Georgia DOT crews working to clear the snow and ice from interstates and state routes.   
  • SLOW DOWN at least half your normal speed and use a low gear as you drive.
  • Treat a non-working traffic signal as a four-way stop.

Georgia DOT Highway Emergency Response Operators (HEROs) will monitor metro Atlanta interstates for potential moisture areas that may freeze. Motorists can call 511 to report black ice. 


Citizens can also access roadway conditions at the Department’s winter weather web site, http://www.dot.ga.gov/DS/Emergency/WinterWeather, if our state encounters a winter event this season.