HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — In the Mountain State, winter weather can make navigating our country roads that much more hazardous.
This was made clear with the first round of wintry weather much of the region saw Wednesday morning.
According to Cabell County Dispatch, between 4:45am and around noon, there were around 30 reported motor vehicle accidents.
Many of them were non-injury accidents, but a few people were transported for injuries, according to dispatch.
One accident involved a car slamming into guardrails on a ramp from 5th street to I-64 westbound. Another happened on the 6th Street bridge and shut it down for a time after the driver crashed into the middle barrier. Fortunately, no injuries were reported for these according to dispatch.
“This early in the winter season, people are just driving like it’s still 80 degrees out; it catches people by surprise and they don’t think that far ahead—the road construction areas, rush hour,” says Tom Bray, an over-the-road truck driver from St. Louis, Missouri.
Beau Evans, the traffic safety director for the City of Huntington, says if the road is wet and it’s cold out drivers should treat the road like its iced over. He also says it’s important to make sure your car is winter-ready—with properly inflated tires with good tread, and that you have an emergency kit in case you get stranded in snow.
Evans says the first ice and snow of the year is usually a rude awakening for many drivers unused to these conditions.
“It is important for drivers to know that when that does happen, they do need to slow down. It’s unfortunate that that rude awakening is what causes everybody to sit up and pay attention,” Evans says.
He says salt trucks and plows have already been out in the area spreading salt. Even so, Evans urges drivers to be cautious because even a thin layer of ice on the road becomes very dangerous for drivers.
By the afternoon, many drivers say the roads didn’t seem to be all that bad. However, they tell us extra caution is definitely necessary this time of year.
“Usually people don’t pay attention to it until they’re on it and it’s too late. I work in West Virginia and I see it all the time, just people just don’t slow down for it anymore… Just, slow down, pay more attention to what’s around you. And they just don’t do it anymore,” says Curtis Preston, a driver from Paintsville, Kentucky.