Local News

Law enforcement officials urge drivers not to abandon cars

Posted February 12, 2014

Local law enforcement and emergency personnel were urging Triangle drivers Wednesday afternoon to avoid travel if possible as a major winter storm continues to dump snow and ice across central and eastern North Carolina.

Deputy Paul Sherwin, with the Durham County Sheriff's Office, said dozens of minor accidents were stopping traffic on roads across the county.

"Cars are sliding into other cars. There are lots of small crashes everywhere," he said. "We're asking people to exchange info and be on their way if possible."

Sherwin said drivers who cannot use their vehicles should try to pull them out of travel lanes.

"What we don't want to see is people leaving their cars in travel lanes," he said. "It blocks other cars, emergency vehicles and plows."

Raleigh police have released the following information about their policy for response to traffic crashes during severe weather.

A police unit should be dispatched to an accident scene if personal injuries are involved or the vehicles are creating a hazard and cannot be moved. If the vehicles are disabled, but not blocking the roadway, dispatchers should simply telephone a wrecker of the driver’s choice.

In cases where a patrol car is not required, dispatchers should advise the parties of extended delays and suggest other options, such as:

• The parties may simply exchange driver and insurance information and leave the scene.
• If a police record is desired for insurance purposes, a delayed report may be made by calling the police department at 919-996-3335.

The state Department of Transportation has spent much of the last two days treating the area's primary roads and interstates with brine, a water-salt solution that helps keep ice from bonding to pavement.

Still, roads are expected to be messy throughout the afternoon and evening as 2 to 4 inches of fresh snow is topped with sleet and freezing rain.

Flakes began flying in the southernmost portions of the Sandhills early Wednesday, and snow reached Wake, Johnston, Durham and Orange counties shortly after lunchtime. 

"Everyone left work at the first snowflake, and it came a lot quicker than expected," Sherwin said. "We have deputies working all over the county."

A winter storm warning is in effect for the entire area through 6 p.m. Thursday, and snowfall is expected to continue on Thursday as the system slowly moves out of the state.

Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday that North Carolina residents should stay off of the roads if possible.

"This storm is very unpredictable. It makes the conditions very difficult for our roads and our utilities," he said. "This storm is going to impact the entire state."

Driving safely in the snow:

The State Highway Patrol advised drivers to avoid being on the roads if possible. 

If you must drive in ice and snow, take these precautions:

  • Make sure your battery and cellphone are fully charged
  • Fill your gas tank
  • Pack bottled water and a blanket in the trunk

While on the road, slow down when roads are slick. Other driving tips:

  • Increase your following distance. You should allow about four car lengths for every 10 mph
  • Drive slower than the posted speed limit
  • Don't use cruise control
  • Stay in cleared lanes, or follow in the tracks of other vehicles where possible
  • Don't try to change lanes

If your car starts to skid:

  • Let your foot off the gas
  • Don't slam on the brakes
  • Steer into the skid
  • Get to a safe place
  • If you get stuck, turn on your flashers so rescue and emergency crews can find and help you

This story is closed for comments.

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  • Jump1 Feb 13, 2014

    Towing companies say it is ok to leave it out, they can take care of it for you and the governor agreed, that you did not need to hurry to get them...

  • Lamborghini Mercy Feb 13, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Seriously, this is why you along with the others should have got home BEFORE things got bad. More traffic only slows down snowplows due to accidents, blocked roads, etc.

  • Dustin Baker Feb 13, 2014
    user avatar

    Anyone have a number to State Highway Patrol to call in an accident report? We were told to just exchange info yesterday if no one was injured. Did that. Now I can't get in touch with anyone from the local station here in Edgecombe County or the Raleigh number. It's just a continuous ring.

  • Ronnie Johnston Feb 13, 2014
    user avatar

    No one would hae to abandon their car if DOT had been out there working. Brine does NOT work people!!!! It took me nearly 2 hours to drive 10 miles to get home.... not ONE truck out plowing or laying down sand and salt. Seriously????

    Is your IQ so low you expect them to plow as soon as snow starts? Do you start shoveling etc. at your house as soon as it starts. DOT cannot have a truck on every inch of road.

  • newwake Feb 13, 2014

    Its called blankets, water, food, and a full tank of gas. OR staying off the road. This storm was predicted a week ahead of time and had copious coverage on local media outlets, internet and word of mouth. Leaving a vehicle in the middle of the highway only causes trouble for everyone else. You will not freeze to death at 25 degrees in a matter of minutes. Every time this happens, emergency officials warn of staying off the roads, or if you do travel, take with you a survival kit. Why spend the time broadcasting that to everyone if 90 percent dont listen and dont prepare themselves accordingly.

  • sharonmontour Feb 13, 2014

    No one would hae to abandon their car if DOT had been out there working. Brine does NOT work people!!!! It took me nearly 2 hours to drive 10 miles to get home.... not ONE truck out plowing or laying down sand and salt. Seriously????

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Feb 12, 2014

    So what are traffic jammed drivers suppose to do then - sit in their blocked cars and freeze?
    C'mon Deputy Paul Sherwin, even YOU wouldn't do that.
    Heck a dog would even know to get out and try to get to good shelter.

  • busyb97 Feb 12, 2014

    Alot of good this written article will do those folks ON THE ROADS! They can't read this and drive (better not be!).

    If you abandon your car and it's not disabled or stuck, you should get a ticket. Traffic is slow, but it's because people are not using their head and driving slow and steady. It won't get any better if you leave your car on the side of the road or in the road- where it's in the way of the plows. Watching the news crews broadcasting as they drive, they are moving along quite nicely- in Durham County (some areas they showed). Roads can't be THAT bad given how fast they were moving.

  • Renard DellaFave Feb 12, 2014
    user avatar

    With antilock brakes, I thought you were supposed to press the brake firmly, and steer where you want to go.

  • katzlover Feb 12, 2014

    i want to know why did the state waste all the money to spread the brine.. its worthless. now time for the excuses to come as why.. need some heads to roll here