According to the weatherman we are set to possibly get our first real winter blast about the time we all read this edition of the Boise City News. With that in mind I thought I might mention a few helpful tips for those days the roads get icy or snowy.
1. Slow down !!! Most accidents during inclement weather occur due to excessive speed in regards to roadway conditions. Forget the speed limit. It refers to ideal conditions. If you lose control of your vehicle on icy roads and crash you will at least get a ticket for “Operating a motor vehicle in a manner not reasonable and proper”. This simply means too fast for conditions. Worse yet you could be hurt, killed or hurt someone else.
2. If it isn't absolutely necessary to travel stay home . If you are in a crash or get stranded you certainly will wish you had. You may be a great driver and have a great four-wheel drive vehicle. Trouble is, you can not control the person who is a terrible driver who crashes into YOU !!! AS we all know in Cimarron County there is no shortage of semi's on our roads. No one is safe if one of those loses control unless you are literally driving a tank.......
3. NEVER use your cruise control on icy or snowy roads or during heavy rainfall. Having the cruise engaged greatly increases the chance you will lose control.
4. If you must travel and have a rear-wheel drive vehicle (non 4X4) add all the weight you can on the rear. Sand bags are best. The state issues road troopers in our four-door cruisers (cars)studded snow tires. We carry a lot of weight in the trunks of our units in equipment and that combination has allowed me to go anywhere I have ever needed to go to this point in Oklahoma including on glaze ice from freezing rain in my native S.E. Oklahoma. Studded tires would be a great investment for those who MUST travel during bad weather.
5. Pack a “Blizzard kit”. Blankets, food, water, road flares, cell. phone charger etc. are a few items that could be life savers if you venture into a blizzard situation and run off the road or have a crash.
In all my years “working the road” I can not remember anyone who crashed in bad weather admitting they were going too fast or should not have been traveling in the first place. I have had several tell me they were going the speed limit. Once again the “speed limit” means the maximum speed you can legally go under IDEAL road conditions. Before you venture out watch the weather channel or listen to the NOAA weather station out of Clayton , N.M. You can call OHP HQ too but on bad weather days our lines get swamped. We will only be able to tell you what you could learn by watching the Weather Channel or listening to NOAA. This area is too vast for us to know for certain how the roads are. In a blizzard the roads may get plowed but in a few minutes they can get bad again from blowing snow. I make myself hard to find in public places on bad weather days because frankly folks wear me out with “What are the roads like” !!! Some then get mad if I am wrong. Things change quickly during really bad weather. My crystal ball never has worked any better than anyone else's.......
Trooper Duane Johnson #280
Oklahoma Highway Patrol