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Officers urge drivers to slow down following slew of accidents

January 5, 2017 GMT

Area law enforcement officials are reminding drivers to slow down on icy or snow-covered roads following a slew of accidents in recent weeks.

Lt. Chris Weadick with the Idaho State Police office in Idaho Falls said troopers have already responded to hundreds of slide-offs and crashes throughout the state this season. And that doesn’t include the incidents that city police and sheriff’s deputies have handled.

Weadick says driving too fast for road conditions plays a major role in the majority of slide-offs and crashes.

“Speed limits are designed for roads that are dry and (skies that are clear),” he said, adding that drivers need to slow down — sometimes a lot — when those ideal conditions don’t exist.

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Weadick says people also need to consider their own driving abilities when determining how fast they should go.

Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand feels that speed is a factor in many weather-related crashes locally, too.

Marchand said his department tends to see more accidents every time it snows, or any time the weather changes. The number of crashes can go up even when it rains in the summer, he said.

Capt. Karen Hatch with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said deputies there have responded to a handful of slide-offs and crashes this week.

She also encourages drivers to slow down and give themselves more time to reach their destinations. In addition, she reminds drivers to pay close attention to where they’re at, in case they need to call for help, and to carry a survival kit with them.

Weadick says drivers should also increase the distance between themselves and the cars in front of them. And he reminds them to clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, headlights and brake lights. Then they can see and other drivers can see them, too. Drivers and passengers should also wear seat belts, he said.

“We see a lot of preventable injury crashes,” Weadick said, adding that people have been ejected when they might have only received some bumps and bruises. “Seat belts save lives.”

Marchand also encourages drivers to pay attention to other vehicles on the road and take extra precautions when approaching intersections.

In addition, he advises drivers to stay off the roads when conditions are bad.

Road conditions can make driving difficult, and even impossible, during the current snowy weather.

For instance, the portion of U.S. 26 between U.S. 20, west of Atomic City, and Moreland Road, west of Blackfoot, was closed on Wednesday due to reduced visibility and drifting snow, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

“Be careful. It’s brutal right now,” Marchand said, adding that more snow is supposed to be on the way. “If you don’t have to drive, don’t do it. And if you do, slow down and pay attention.”