Ask A Trooper: Beware of ice on Minnesota bridges

Published 5:35 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2022

By Sgt. Troy Christianson

Question:  I heard you talk about bridge decks freezing up on the radio, can you please write about it?

Answer: An icy bridge’s most dangerous threat is their element of surprise — they catch drivers off guard. Even though the main roadway may appear relatively safe, bridges, overpasses and exit and entrance ramps can be icy. Drivers traveling on a clear, dry day may not realize that wind under bridges can quickly turn a thin layer of water or snow to ice. That’s because a bridge is exposed to air on all of its surfaces — on top, underneath and on its sides. This causes it to lose heat more quickly than a normal road surface that only has a top surface exposed to air.

Approach bridges, overpasses and ramps with caution.

Take your foot off the accelerator to gradually slow down. Never slam on your brakes.

Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Keep both hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the road, stay alert — and remember that your seat belt is your best defense in case of a crash.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention, and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.  (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)