Law enforcement urge motorists to drive safely during wintry weather

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Posted at 8:34 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 21:36:14-05

With possible wintry weather in the forecast early next week, we want to make sure you're safe on the roads. At least five people were killed in a massive crash on I-35W in Fort Worth Wednesday involving between 75-100 vehicles. Icy roads are expected here in Acadiana as well, so we spoke with an area driving instructor and Louisiana State Police on how to stay safe while driving in wintry conditions.

State Troopers will be actively monitoring the roads and helping drivers throughout the weather event, but it's important to take precautions first.

LSP Troop I spokesperson Tpr. Thomas Gossen urged residents to limit their travel and heed warnings from state officials and law enforcement.

"If we're advising you to stay off those roadways, it's for a reason. The last time this happened in 2016, we had over 150 calls for service from 5 a.m. until noon," Gossen explained.

If you absolutely have to travel, here are some more tips:

  • Give yourself some extra space when behind other vehicles
  • Never use cruise control during icy conditions
  • If you start to skid, take your foot off the gas and steer until you regain control

Driving instructor Lisa Cochran added that having control of your vehicle is important.

"Have both hands on the wheel and know that momentum is a thing," explained Cochran. "You can always get going, but you can't gauge your vehicle on stopping. If it's momentum, it's pushing you to go, you're not going to be able to stop, especially on ice."

So the likelihood of emergency personnel being able to get to you right away is going to be pretty slim."

Tpr. Gossen added that if you do get out on the roads and need emergency assistance, it may take some time for them to respond because of the conditions.

"While some situations do dictate that we do get out on the roadway, some do not. The hurricane was a perfect example of that," said Gossen. "Once the winds got so high we couldn't get out. So we just want people to again heed the warning of that and know that if we're saying not to get out on the roadway we're doing that to try to protect the public."

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