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WFPD Encourages Safe Driving

Snow and ice accumulation on the roads always cause a big problem for drivers. During the cold weather and freezing rain a week and a half ago, police responded to more than 100 traffic accidents on Friday night alone, so now they're issuing words of warning to drivers.
Wichita Falls police and first responders are hoping the drivers have learned from the last winter storm and they do not get a repeat of multi-vehicle wrecks all over the city.

WFPD Sgt. John Spragins says, "The roads are very deceiving, especially when it's ice. They look dry or they look like it's just wet, but it's slick."

Officers say icy roads almost always lead to an abundance of wrecks in the city, no matter the advance warnings to slow down.

"Seventy-five to 80 percent of the accidents that we worked two weeks ago during the weather were because of speed," Sgt. Spragins says.

Which is why they're again pleading with drivers to slow down if the ice hits us this week.

Officer Joey Anderson, WFPD driving instructor, says, "Slow down. I'll tell you what, it's one of those things where you really want to get to where you're going, but you've got to get there safely, too."

"Driving to the conditions of the road is what's more important," Spragins says. "If it's slick out, slow down. Keep distance between your vehicle and another vehicle because it's going to take you longer to stop."

And when it comes to hitting the brakes, officers say it's important to be familiar with your vehicle.

"The reason why people tell you to tap your brakes is to keep your brakes from locking up," Sgt. Spragins says. "Well, with the newer model vehicles, they have the anti-lock brakes. It basically does it for you. So what the manufacturers recommend is a steady applying of the brakes if you have an anti-lock brake systems."

"Ease into the brakes," Anderson says. "Give yourself time to slow down. Do that further back from the intersection or from the stop sign."

It's that extra few seconds that could give you the margin of safety to avoid a wreck.

And police say if you do hit a patch of ice, remember to take your foot off the accelerator and don't follow the instinct to hit the brakes and then steer out of the skid.

If the ice returns, officers say the best thing is just stay off the roads unless it's essential to travel.
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