Winter weather has taken its toll across much of the midwest and east coast, with incoming storms that have been quite unexpected–and severe.
This month, we’ve already seen arctic air surges throughout the Northern Plains and the Midwest, heavy snowfall across New England and the Northeast, and even inclement weather and snow storms in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.
In the first few weeks of the year, many states have been seeing concerning incoming weather systems that have raised worries for truck drivers and passenger drivers alike. Low pressure off of the Mid-Atlantic coastline made its way northeast, bringing moderate and heavy snowfall to areas across New England–with snowfall of up to 8 inches showing up in eastern Massachusetts, eastern Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island.
“High winds are expected throughout the state, increasing the danger of downing powerlines and trees,” said the Maryland State Highway Department.
“There will be high wind warnings for much of the state today, and likely closures to Light and High Profile Vehicles,” said the Wyoming Highway Patrol. “Please monitor wyoroad.info or 511 for updates on opening times for I-80, as well as potential wind closures. If [or] when it opens, please be safe and allow extra travel time.”
Snow bands formed throughout the Great Lakes, with other cold weather systems making their way throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Additionally, the Northwest saw heavy amounts of moisture, with one-to-two feet of snow showing up across the Northern Rockies. Blizzard warnings have been in effect due to heavy winds and drifting snow throughout the Northern Great Basin and Northern Rockies, as well, with another arctic cold front showing up later throughout the Midwest and Northern Plains. This cold front brought with it freezing rain, along with more snow–especially across the Midwest.
As was to be expected, roads across the country began seeing various crashes and incidents taking place, often shutting down stretches of highway.
“A tractor-trailer rollover on Interstate 95 north at Exit 90 by the Mystic Aquarium caused over 400 feet of damage to the wire rope guardrail and has [a] portion of the highway shut down right now,” said the Connecticut State Police in a social media post. “Thankfully, there were no other vehicles involved and no one was injured.”
Troopers in Jackson also brought attention to snow-caused accidents, tweeting: “Troopers are currently on the scene of a crash that had the westbound lanes of I-40 shut down at the 93.2 mile marker. Please use caution and seek an alternate route if possible.”
Connecticut police also called for safer driving during this kind of weather. “These crashes are preventable,” they continued in their post. “We urge commercial drivers to reduce their speeds in these poor weather conditions. Doing so can help prevent costly damages and tragic crashes.”
Levinson and Stefani’s Ken Levinson agreed with this call for safety, noting that distracted or lazy driving can be detrimental during this time of year–especially when it comes to sharing the road with heavy duty trucks.
“You should always drive defensively and be very cautious of trucks near you, especially in bad weather,” he urged. “You never know who’s driving the commercial vehicle in front of you–it may be a trainee, someone underqualified, someone who’s had previous crashes who shouldn’t be behind the wheel at all…they could be distracted, beyond their hours of service, and tired, so be very, very cautious.”
In case these warnings fall on deaf ears, Levinson reiterated that devastating accidents do indeed occur often–particularly when someone isn’t paying close enough attention to the road or is too impatient while driving in inclement weather.
“We see a lot of crashes in the cases brought to our office in which the crash occurs because the driver wasn’t trained well, was distracted, or was tired, so extra caution needs to be taken in this kind of weather,” he noted. “Impatience is something we all face on the road. There’s a dynamic where you’re frustrated, you want to get to where you have to be, and it’s just not worth it to speed or pass a vehicle improperly or cut corners. In the long run, you want to be patient so you can get to your destination in one piece. It’s easier said than done sometimes, I get that, but it’s all the more reason to stay safe when a truck is in the vicinity–it’s just too dangerous.”