Winter Weather: Slow Down, Be Cautious - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Winter Weather: Slow Down, Be Cautious

Posted: Updated:

By: Claire Powell


Sunday's winter storm left hundreds of vehicles stranded in ditches and roadways across Iowa.

The Iowa State Patrol responded to around 120 accidents on Sunday and Monday and said the first winter storm is usually the worst. Drivers need to be reminded to slow down and be cautious.

"People were driving way to fast, not looking forward as they're driving, maybe not paying attention. When they come up on and icy bridge, see an emergency vehicle, they hit the brakes and out of control they went," said Sergeant Rick Schaaf, Iowa State Patrol.

The most dangerous spots were on the bridges and overpasses, where ice patches were hard to see. That sent many cars downhill, unable to stop.

"Those gradual slopes, going too fast for the conditions and they ended up way down, way off the road way," said Sgt. Schaaf.

The patrol had a few key tips for driving now that winter has arrived and the snow is here.

"The biggest thing is to not use cruise control, just slow down. I know people are in a hurry to get somewhere or to work and things, but slow down, take your time," said Sgt. Schaaf.

Give other vehicles plenty of space to the left, right and front. It's also important to pay attention and not be distracted by cell phones or other passengers.  

Drivers should be prepared in case they do get stuck in the snow. They should have at least a half tank of gas at all times, in case you need to keep your car warm while you wait to be picked up.

"In some cases yesterday, it was an hour before we got to some people just because we were so busy," said Sgt. Schaaf.

Also, as many on Sunday and Monday forgot, you should always dress for the weather.

"They have spring coats on! Some may not have boots on, just regular tennis shoes," said Sgt. Shaaf.

Tuesday's sunshine may have melted the roadways, but with temperatures dropping into the single digits over night, the roads are likely to re-freeze all over again.  


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