The transition between wet snow and freezing rain earlier this week created more accidents in Kewaunee County than the winter storm that hit the area New Year’s Eve. Zero incidents were reported during the snowstorm that dumped four to five inches on the area according to Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski. On the flip side, five to six incidents were responded to earlier this week when Kewaunee County motorists saw the morning snow turn into afternoon showers. Joski says people tend to be more cautious when headline-making storms come into the area and often let their guard down when it disappears.
Joski says motorists should take extra caution over the next few weeks as temperatures hover around the freezing point and standing water begins to accumulate on roadways. You can read more tips on how to stay safe driving in these unique winter weather conditions from Joski online with this story.
FROM SHERIFF JOSKI:
As we continue to experience unusual shifts in winter weather patterns ranging from warm sun to bitter winds, with a combination of wet heavy snow and spring like rain showers, I would like to remind everyone of the many impacts these changes may have on our daily activities related to both drivers and pedestrians alike.
The first consideration is of course the melting of snow which may result in standing water as most of the soil beneath is not able to absorb the water as it would in the warmer months. This may mean the potential for road hazards such as hydroplaning of motor vehicles in certain areas of roads. Due to the shifts in temperatures these same roads could very easily transition to ice covered within hours and without warning. It is important to monitor the conditions of the roads at all times as we continue to fluctuate in temperatures at or near the freezing point. Another unusual result of these moderate temperatures could be winter fog, which again can appear without notice and create an increase in risk to those driving through it. Remember that in limited light environments, your automatic lights will not activate. If you question the need for headlamps in such conditions it is best to error on the side of caution and turn on those headlamps (just don’t forget to turn them off when you arrive at your destination).
Other areas to consider slowing down are on curves and across bridges and overpasses. Just this morning, we responded to numerous reports for vehicles which had left the roadway or struck guardrails due to slippery road conditions. Just remember that your ability to steer as well as stop can change in a very short time so don’t assume anything and be prepared for everything.
Similar to driving, those walking or running need to also be prepared for degraded surfaces. Although most people make every effort to scrape their sidewalks, the potential for slippery surfaces is unavoidable and the need for cautious steps could be the difference between walking and limping as you make your way home. Also, make sure you are wearing visible clothing if you are walking on or adjacent to a roadway as the changing visibility creates an additional risk to pedestrians.
My last piece of advice is to start your vehicles and let them defrost, or take the time to scrape your windows creating an appropriate field of vision through your primary windows. Don’t assume that the warm weather you experienced the evening before will still be there when you wake up and head off to work. Give yourself plenty of time for preparation and travel so as to minimize the possibility of an accident due to a heightened sense of urgency. As the old saying goes “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail” Stay Safe out There!