TENNERTON — It was a slick trip home for Upshur County residents on Friday, February 4. After receiving snow and a wintry mix earlier in the day, flash freezing created hazardous driving conditions for the area, resulting in a 12 car pile-up on Route 20 near Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
The area was shut down from Stoney Run to the Sago/Lick Run area. Injuries were reported and emergency crews responded to the scene. Currently, the extent of those injuries is unknown.
With six more weeks of winter upon us, it is important to review safe driving tips. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states, “Winter driving demands special care; safe driving is a year-round habit.” Data from the NHTSA shows that 17% of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions.
The NHTSA recommends regular tune-ups and maintenance on vehicles. The administration says, “Pay special attention to your battery, wipers, coolant, tires and other systems that can take a beating when the temperature drops.”
It is also recommended to have snow tires installed before the first snow fall. Before heading out on the road, make sure to clear snow off the car, including the windows, forward sensors, headlights, taillights and backup camera.
Vehicles handle differently on wet, icy or snowy roads. “Increase your following distance so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles in front of you,” said the NHTSA. The administration also advises that drivers know the weather and traffic conditions, so that they can plan the route and give extra time to get to any destination during inclement weather.
Always be prepared for an emergency. “Even if you and your vehicle are prepared, crashes happen; Vehicles break down,” states NHTSA.
It is a good idea to keep blankets, flashlights and flares in the car. Also, all occupants of a vehicle should wear seat belts and children should be in appropriate car seats.
“Never drive after drinking. Never drive distracted. Those are the essentials for safe driving, whatever the weather,” the NHTSA stated on their website.