Law enforcement officials urge drivers not to abandon cars
Posted February 12
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