As fall turns to winter, the roads get busier. With multiple upcoming holidays to celebrate, if individuals are uneducated on the importance of safety in Iowa winter conditions, traveling to and from festivities could be risky.
On Nov. 6, Ames Police Department (Ames PD) recorded 10 collisions according to Jason Tuttle, investigation commander and public information officer for Ames PD.
Although not all of these may have been caused by the first snowfall of the season, Tuttle said that this number “is not out of line for the first snowfall of the year.”
Tuttle provided information on the protocol that is used in response to accidents caused by icy road conditions.
He said that officers arrive at the scene as quickly as possible, in an attempt to get the collided cars off the road sooner than later because other cars happening upon the accident have the potential to turn a two-way collision into the domino effect.
Tuttle said that once the officers arrive at the scene of the crash, they gather the information on the individuals involved in the crash and interview any witnesses present.
Winter conditions may interfere with how quickly and efficiently first responders arrive at an incident.
“Snow can cause first responder delays,” Tuttle said.
When this problem presents itself, Ames is required to grab bigger city vehicles, and in the past, they have worked with the National Guard to reach interstate accidents.
Although this issue has only presented itself a few times in Tuttle’s career, he said, “it has the potential to happen.”
Winter road conditions have already proven to be dangerous this year; therefore, it is of high importance that drivers take proper precautions.
“It seems that people just forget how to drive,” Tuttle said.
Tuttle said that people drive too fast under these conditions and need to slow down as well as limit distractions such as cell phones and the radio.
Drivers can be at a high risk of getting into accidents, but pedestrians also have things to look out for.
Pedestrians can increase their safety by making sure to always use crosswalks and keeping an eye out at intersections. "Walk" signs should not be a pedestrian’s only indication that it is safe to cross because vehicles are bound to slide through intersections in the winter, Tuttle said.
Ames PD is constantly updating residents of the road conditions and reminding them not to park in snow routes. Individuals can access this information via the Ames PD Twitter account, @AmesPolice, and the Ames PD Facebook page.