Drivers slip and slide on ice Wednesday morning

Road surfaces dampened by days of light rain and chilled by overnight temperatures that dipped past the freezing mark could be slick Wednesday morning, causing problems for drivers.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Slick road surfaces, dampened by days of light rain and chilled by overnight temperatures that dipped past the freezing mark, caused problems Wednesday morning for drivers.

Gordon said troopers had responded to about 30 accidents by 6 a.m.

"Our fear is that number is going to increase as more people get on the highways and more people hit those bridges," he said.

"If you have the opportunity to delay your travel this morning, do that," he added.

A number of cars, including a sheriff's deputy's vehicle, slid off Interstate 540 near the Creedmoor Road exit in north Raleigh.

In Orange County, firefighters en route to an accident call slid on ice near the intersection of Phelps and Mason Keyon roads and their firetruck ended up on its side on the shoulder. No one was hurt in that incident.

In Nash County, U.S. Highway 64 westbound was closed where a tractor-trailer slid off the road into the vehicles of a sheriff's deputy and another driver on the shoulder.

Trooper Justine Roy said the driver of an SUV ran off the road first near the interchange with Interstate 95. The deputy stopped to help that driver, and both were parked when the truck hit their vehicles.

In Chatham County, two accidents were slowing traffic on the U.S. Highway 64 bridge over Jordan Lake. Neither resulted in serious injuries, emergency personnel on the scene said. 

A pickup truck headed east spun out on ice, and a tractor-trailer slid into the truck, sending both into the median.

In the second incident, a tractor-trailer slid through the guardrail and overturned on the bank of the lake.

Jonathan Boone, director of Rocky Mount Public Works & Water Resources, advised that drivers who see traffic problems keep moving and call 911.

"Make them aware of the location and let police respond to it,” he said. “Otherwise you could make a bad situation worse, a pileup."

About a dozen flights out of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport were canceled early Wednesday morning.

"If the weather holds, it looks like things will start getting back to normal between 9 and 10 a.m.," said spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin.

Crews from the local municipalities and the state Department of Transportation mobilized in the wee hours to counter the chilly precipitation with salt and sand.

DOT crews spread brine along Interstate 95 from Benson to the South Carolina border.

“What we want to see is a little bit of rain to fall and a little bit of moisture on the surface that we want to actually put the salt on so that way the salt will start melting and it will stick so it won't get kicked off by the cars,” said Steve Halsey with Raleigh Transportation Field Services.

Crews in Rocky Mount spent part of Tuesday spreading about 3,000 gallons of brine on city streets, including on U.S. Highway 64, U.S. Highway 264 and Interstate 95, roads that were also treated by the state Department of Transportation.

Many school systems delayed classes by two hours Wednesday morning in anticipation of slick conditions. School was canceled for the day in Durham, Harnett, Person, Edgecombe and Robeson counties.

The problems began Tuesday evening in Raleigh, where a truck hit a power pole on Wade Avenue near Interstate 440 just before midnight. The crash brought power lines down across the roadway and knocked out power to the traffic signals on Wade Avenue, Raleigh police said.

Wade Avenue was closed in both directions, with police officers directing traffic, until about 7 a.m. 

Police said that crash was not caused by the weather conditions.

Triangle Transit delays

While most transit service around the Triangle was expected to run on schedule, the following routes will be delayed Wednesday morning:

  • Route 700 will begin at Durham Station at 10 a.m.
  • Route 700 will begin at the Regional Transit Center at 10:30 a.m.
  • Route 400 will begin at Durham Station at 10 a.m.
  • Route 400 will begin at Manning Drive and UNC Hospital at 10 a.m.
  • Route 800 will begin at Streets of Southpoint at 10:01 a.m.
  • Route 800 will begin at South Road-Student Stores at 10:09 a.m.
  • Route 300 will begin at the Cary Train Station at 10 a.m.
  • Route 100 will begin at Hillsborough Street/Brooks at 10 a.m.
  • Route 100 will begin at Airport-Terminal 1 at 10:10 a.m.
  • Route 805 will begin at Woodcroft Shopping Center at 10:30 a.m.

Tips for driving on icy roads

First, don't go out unless you absolutely have to. If you must, slow down and leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles. Do not use cruise control, and drive smoothly without sudden accelerating, braking or turning.

A slide or skid can be unnerving. Keep these maneuvers in mind when driving; better yet, practice in an empty parking lot before you have to use them. Use the same maneuver for front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles.

In all cases:

Don’t panic.

Take your foot off of the accelerator.

If you have to use the brakes, use them gently (anti-lock brakes should be applied with gentle, steady pressure; for standard, non-ABS brakes, pump the brake pedal gently to avoid locking up).

Wait for the car to slow down enough to regain traction before gently accelerating.

Yield the right of way at intersections.

Rear-wheel skids

Steer your vehicle in the direction that your rear wheels are skidding.

Avoid focusing on what your vehicle may be headed toward and instead focus on getting out of the skid.

Front-wheel skids

Shift into neutral.

Don’t try to steer immediately.

When your vehicle begins to slow down, steer in the direction that you want your vehicle to go. 

Put the vehicle into gear and gently accelerate.


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