AUSTIN (KXAN) — They’re rarely spotted in Central Texas and only in the winter. What is a Sneckdown and why do they only show up when it is freezing?

The word Sneckdown is a combination of two words, “Snow” and “Neckdown”. A neckdown is an old-fashioned term for a curb extension.

During the winter months, cars driving on the roads leave tracks in the snow showing where they actually drove. These tracks, traffic experts and city planners say, highlight how much of the road is used by drivers. The tracks show how much of the road is wasted.

The area where the road is still covered in snow and white is a “Sneckdown.”

City planners use sneckdowns to figure out where roads can be narrowed to slow traffic down and to shorten crosswalks.

Since it doesn’t usually snow in Central Texas, sneckdowns are pretty rare. We don’t actually need snow, ice of sleet for a sneckdown. In the 1980s, city planners in Australia threw cake flour in the road to create their own versions of sneckdowns.