September 2, 2014

Transportation officials urge common sense winter driving

Following recent deadly pile-ups, officials are stressing the importance of common sense.

Traffic camera videos showing deadly multi-car pileups in the Milwaukee area last weekend show the importance of not driving too fast for conditions and too close to other vehicles. It should also serve as a reminder for motorists to stay inside their vehicles after a crash or slide off.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation spokesman Randy Romanski reminds motorists that “snow means slow.” He says, “slowing down when conditions worsen is a really important thing to remember. Even just the smallest bit of snow, a little bit of freezing rain can become a really dangerous proposition.” Romanski says, “Ice and snow, take it slow.”

Wisconsin State Patrol advises motorists to stay inside their vehicles if at all possible after a wintertime crash or sliding off the road. The snowfall last weekend and icy conditions led to several pileups, road closures, traffic delays, several injuries, and three deaths. Several people could be seen getting out of their vehicles and walking around.

Romanski says, when involved in a crash, don’t be wandering around on the dangerous road. “Unless you absolutely have to get out of your vehicle, stay inside it; buckle up; call 911 on a cell phone and wait for law enforcement to arrive.”

If you are outside your vehicle, he says, you have little or no protection against vehicles that can easily slide out of control on slippery roads.

In the video from a WisDOT traffic camera in Germantown, cars can be seen speeding down Interstate 41/45 and then slamming uncontrollably into other vehicles — one after the next.

Romanski urges motorists to remain cautious, be aware of the road and weather conditions, listen to the advisories, use 511 for travel information, allow extra time for travel, take it slow, and bring your patience.