Professional drivers urge people to slow down in bad weather

MISSOULA COUNTY

Faith Cronin By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
POSTED: 11:01 PM Dec 06 2012   UPDATED: 11:02 PM Dec 06 2012
Professional drivers urge people to slow down in bad weather
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Winter weather conditions are heading our way, causing slick roads, icy bridges and a number of accidents.

Thursday afternoon NBC Montana talked to semi and tow truck drivers about what they have been seeing on Montana's highways and interstates. 

All of them say they have seen their fair share of winter wrecks and collisions.  They say the biggest problem they encounter is folks who are driving too fast when road conditions are bad. 

We met up with tow truck driver Richie Blair who says he's responded to dozens of winter related wrecks that could have been avoided if the person driving had just slowed down and paid more attention.

“People get somebody coming up behind them and they're all worried, but just slow down and worry about yourself,” said Blair. 

It's the same story we heard this afternoon from semi-truck drivers.  Robert Coddington says he’s been hauling loads all over the United States for over 16 years.  He says he’s seen his fair share of weather related wrecks. 

“The majority of the people I see driving cars in the winter, are driving them like they're on bare dry highway,” he said.  “They need to quit that thinking because that's what gets them in trouble.”

Professional drivers say if people are in a big hurry to get somewhere the best thing they can do is leave a few minutes earlier. 

“Five miles an hour lower is only going to take you an additional 20 minutes to get to your destination,” said Coddington. 

Blair says he's worked as a tow truck driver for six years and he's had to tow more than a few vehicles that were demolished in fatal winter accidents. 

“Last winter I did a semi versus a pick-up truck, head on; it was probably the worst one I've seen,” said Blair. 

Blair says after years of towing wrecked vehicles and talking to the owners of those vehicles, he has some advice for drivers.  “Wear your seatbelt because it really can save your life,” said Blair.  “And slow down; let’s keep everybody safe.”

Make sure to check NBC Montana for the latest Road Report before hitting the roads this winter.