The Herald Bulletin

January 18, 2014

It’s a wreck out there

Fresh snow brings slide-offs, stranded motorists, car trouble

By Traci Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — As a heavy blanket of snow once again fell in the area, the number of slide-offs and accidents rose.

Emergency personnel found themselves busy responding to reports of motorists who had struck utility poles, slid into ditches or hit guardrails.

The hazardous road conditions — created by a fast-moving band of snow falling in Madison County Saturday afternoon —  placed a heavy demand on area tow trucks.

“Business has been exceptionally good,” said Sue Moreland, manager of Northwest Towing & Recovery, 1625 E. 60th Street. The company operates 11 tow trucks.

Moreland said employees have been working double and triple overtime to keep up with the demand. The wrecker calls have varied, from people being stuck in the snow, accidents, and vehicles stranded and unable to start due to the cold weather.

“We have seen a lot of interstate accidents from people traveling too fast for the conditions,” she said.

This year has been different than most, Moreland said, because people normally adjust their driving as they become acclimated to the conditions. But not this year.

“People just weren’t prepared for it,” she said. “The best thing people can do when it is bad like this is to heed those travel warnings. They had advised people to stay home and they didn’t listen.”

At one point, Moreland said they were unable to keep up with the demand.

“We were running four- and five-hour response times,” she said.

John Paul, a driver and mechanic for Lee’s AWS Wrecker Service, 305. W. First St., said they were forced to close for a day during the snowstorm earlier this month. The weather not only paralyzed the state, he said, but the company’s seven vehicles would not start in the extremely cold conditions.

Overall, Paul said most of the company’s business has been due to drivers not using caution.

“I would say we have seen 60 percent of our business from accidents and 40 percent due to slide-offs,” he said. “People need to use extreme caution. It’s only common sense.”

Danille Ward, owner of JDW Recovery, 2316 Jefferson St., has also seen a jump in business with the snowy weather conditions.

“Our trucks were able to run the entire time and we didn’t have any trouble, but we were pretty prepared,” she said. “It was really busy non-stop there for three days in a row, but I remember it being a bit busier when we had the ice and snow a few years ago.”

While most people say they are sick of the snow, Susan Humphrey, 64, Anderson is enjoying the weather.

“It’s God’s gift,” Humphrey said. “It’s gorgeous!”

But she said traveling when conditions are icy can be dangerous.

“I look out for the person in front of me and behind me,” she said. “People in Indiana don’t know how to drive in the snow.”

Humphrey said she has never been in an accident.

“I’ve seen several close calls, but I haven’t been in them.”

Driving in the snow takes practice, Humphrey said. She said her husband has spent time showing her how to maneuver in slippery conditions by actually causing her vehicle to slide when it is slick outside.

“He told me to turn into the slide instead of trying to fix it,” she said. “I didn’t believe him at first, but it does work. You also have to watch for those really shiny black spots on the road — those are ice.”

So what is her secret to being accident-free?

“When it is really bad I don’t drive in it,” she said. “I curl up in front of the fireplace with a book.”

Like Traci Moyer on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @moyyer, or call 648-4250.