Be safe…slow down!

Published 3:35 pm Saturday, February 6, 2010

It appears that Old Man Winter refuses to loosen his grip on northeastern North Carolina.

An extended period of cold weather, within an area known for its moderate temperatures during the winter months, has been accompanied by above average precipitation, some of the frozen variety.

The majority of motorists that call northeastern North Carolina as home are not accustomed to driving on sheets of ice. That feat is better left suited to our neighbors north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Last weekend’s winter storm – one that left as little as 3 inches of snow on the ground in southern Bertie County to as much as 11 inches in the northwestern portion of Northampton County – proved as a test for many local motorists. Fortunately, the majority passed that test.

Local law enforcement officials praised those motorists, at least those who dared to venture from their homes, for exercising extreme caution on the slick roadways. While there were a few minor incidents, most involving a vehicle meeting a ditch, for the most part it proved as a relatively quiet weekend for emergency responders.

The key in lowering the usual number of accidents associated with traveling on snow or ice-covered roads is operating a vehicle at a reduced speed. That appeared to be the case locally as vehicles were seen creeping along the roadways.

With another round of winter weather in today’s forecast, we encourage local motorists to again use extreme caution while traveling. Reduce your speed; avoid heavy breaking; and make sure to add to the normal distance between you and the vehicle you are following.

It’s also recommended to keep warm clothing in your vehicle, perhaps even some food and water, in the event you are involved in an accident and, due to the adverse weather conditions, are forced to wait an extended period for help to arrive.

If all else fails, just keep in mind that Spring is only 42 days away.