Sunday, November 27, 2022
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Icy roads result in increased accidents

by REBECCA PETTINGILL
Staff Writer | November 23, 2022 2:20 PM

GRANT COUNTY — Icy roads led to a busy day for first responders across Grant County on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, every year on the first day (of icy weather), there's always multiple accidents,” said Grant County Fire District 7 Administrator Josh Chambers. “Now, we don't usually see the fatalities we saw yesterday, but it's always pretty chaotic that first day; people have a hard time adjusting to the icy roads.”

Chambers said they responded to two weather-related calls. The first call was a motor vehicle fatality and the second was a medical call because parents did not feel comfortable driving their child to the hospital on the icy roads. While they also responded to a second fatality, they do not believe that one was related to the weather.

According to Grant County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Kyle Foreman, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday, GCSO responded to 13 collisions.

“That’s a higher-than-normal amount,” Foreman said. “It can be assumed the icy roads caused the increase in calls.”

Only one of those collisions resulted in a fatality, the same fatality that GCFD 7 responded to.

Foreman also noted that not all the collisions related to the weather were necessarily reported, or information may not be available because they did not result in injury to people or major damage to vehicles.

MACC Dispatch staff said they received 20 traffic accident calls on Tuesday compared to only four the day before.

Seventeen percent of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA also said in 2020, there were 374 fatal crashes, and an estimated 25,000 injury crashes that occurred in wintry conditions.

Some winter driving tips from NHSTA include:

• Slow down

• Increase your following distance

• Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside the truck

In an Emergency NHSTA advises:

• Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.

• Let your car be seen. Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light on.

• Be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any snow and run your car only sporadically – just long enough to stay warm. Don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.

Rebecca Pettingill may be reached at rpettingill@columbiabasinherald.com.

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