Inclement weather causes accidents statewide


BUCKHANNON — It’s wintertime and unfortunately, that means the weather affects the road conditions immensely. On Wednesday, December 8, the Buckhannon Fire Department received and responded to a total of five motor vehicle accidents caused by icy road conditions.

Career Firefighter Ethan Smith explained, “In order to stay safe during these times, try to avoid any unnecessary travel when the roads are icy. Make sure to maintain a safe speed and always keep an eye out for black ice, slush and road obstructions.”

Safe distances between vehicles are critical as well. It allows drivers to have extra time to slow down and stop when the roads are too slick. Be cautious when driving over bridges as they tend to ice over more quickly. Weather can also produce ‘black ice’ which is much harder to see, especially at night. Drivers should allow for enough time to get to and from a destination to avoid accidents.

There were several vehicle accidents throughout the state of West Virginia that included 18-wheelers, buses, vans and personally-owned family vehicles.

According to the AAA website at https://www.ace.aaa.com/, some tips for safe driving in snowy and icy conditions include:

“Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications and more. Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread. Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times. Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage. Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as ice and snow. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Do not try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight.

“Remember, It takes longer to slow down on icy roads. Increase your following distance to five to six seconds, instead of the recommended three to four behind traffic. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop. Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. Do not stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop and how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.”

Do not power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make the wheels spin. Try to build up a safe speed before reaching the hill and let momentum carry the car to the top. As the vehicle reaches the top of the hill, reduce speed and proceed downhill slowly. Do not stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road.

Residents are urged to remain proactive when weather conditions worsen.

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