Iowa road condition definitions

Note:  These definitions are intended to provide road condition status information reported from Oct. 15 to April 15. Remember that road conditions may change rapidly, and the status of current conditions may not always be readily available. Road condition reports are only available for interstates, U.S. highways and Iowa highways . The conditions are reported by the Iowa DOT and are updated at a minimum of every two hours. A roadway with no report available does not indicate that normal winter driving is possible; adverse driving conditions may be present. It is always important for the public to be prepared to exercise caution while driving during the winter months.

Normal or wet: Normal winter driving conditions exist. This includes dry and wet roadways, but any precipitation on the road is not freezing. A wet condition could result in reduced traction.

Partially covered: Frost, ice, sleet/slush, snow or a mixture of precipitation is causing the roadway to be partially covered (up to 50 percent). Drivers may experience periods when roadway markings are difficult to see. With continued precipitation, the roadway surface may become slick, snow packed and rutted.

Completely covered: The roadway is completely covered with precipitation (i.e. frost, ice, sleet/slush, snow or a mixture). Roadway markings are obscured making it difficult to differentiate between the roadway and its surroundings. These conditions can make travel difficult and hazardous.

Impassable or closed: A road that is impassable is blocked by snow or vehicles. A road that is closed has travel restricted by barricades, fence, gate, equipment/vehicles or other physical means. Iowa law prohibits motorists from entering a closed roadway or moving traffic control devices.

Advisory statement:
Travel not advised: The roadway has deteriorated to the point that it is very dangerous to travel. Emergency vehicles and snow removal equipment may be called off of the roadway due to the conditions. Some weather conditions can be severe enough that roadway treatments, such as salt or sand, are not effective. In the event of an emergency, it may be impossible to get emergency vehicles to the scene.