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Saturday July 4th, 2015 1:05PM

DOT working winter conditions in seven N. Ga. counties

By Staff
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UNDATED - As of 5:15 a.m., the Georgia Department of Transportation was working with icy road conditions in seven north Georgia counties, according to a statement from DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope.

Pope identified those counties as Dawson, Habersham, Lumpkin, Rabun, Towns, Union and White.

While there is light snow accumulation in some areas, the main problem appears to be black ice. Pope identified the following areas as particular problem spots:

*Dawson County - SR 52 from SR 183 past Amicalola Falls, a six mile stretch of roadway is impassable
*Towns County - SR 2 and SR 515 in Hiawassee

Elsewhere in north Georgia, the main problem early Friday was the cold. Temperatures as far south as Gainesville were in the upper teens by daybreak and strong winds pushed the wind chill factor to around zero at times. The top wind gust overnight at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville was 44-miles-an-hour.

GDOT issued the following guidelines for travel Friday morning.

Check weather conditions before you leaving Friday morning and stay off the roads unless it is an emergency if conditions warrant in the Northeast Georgia Mountains. Choose caution and stay where you are instead of driving in hazardous winter weather conditions.

Slow down and stay behind the snowplows. The road behind the plow will be the safest place to drive. Allow at least ten car lengths between your vehicle and snowplows or hopper spreaders.

Do not pass. The plows are wide, and sometimes a group of trucks will work in tandem to clear snow quickly, especially on major highways.

Be particularly aware of black ice conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps.

Remember that technology helps, but only to a point. Four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and traction control are beneficial advancements in today's cars, trucks and SUVs, but they can't take the place of good driving habits and the need to reduce speed on snowy or icy roads.
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