Every winter when we have the first real weather event involving snow and ice, we expect to have a number of crashes until drivers slow down and adjust their driving speeds to the icy and snow-covered roadways.
Last Friday evening, just about the time that the afternoon rush hour traffic was starting to pick up, our first significant snow event of the season hit with a couple of wet, slushy inches of snow.
The patrol officers working were almost immediately overwhelmed by the number of minor car crashes and vehicle spin outs all across town. Sergeant Jason Polinski reported there were 14 traffic crashes reported in just a two hour period of time following the beginning of the snowfall. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries in the crashes. The patrol officers working did a great job handling the increased call load during the snow event.
We then had a second, far more significant snow event that started on Saturday night and by Sunday afternoon had left over a foot of snow on the ground. The Public Works plow crews did a great job moving the volume of snow off the roadway, but due to the warm ground and cold air temperatures, most of the roadways were snow packed with some icy spots in intersections. This led to a second round of traffic crashes and vehicles going in the ditch on Sunday. The one good thing was that this snowstorm was on the weekend and most people stayed home during the storm, so there were less storm-related events.
Several of the officers working over the weekend noted that the one thing many of the traffic crashes and vehicle spin outs had in common was that the drivers were traveling too fast for the conditions and not allowing adequate stopping or turning distances.
Overall, we find that drivers here are very good at driving safely in all winter conditions and adjusting their driving to the changing winter roadway conditions. It may be that we had such a mild winter last year that so many drivers have not yet adjusted their driving to the lower traction roadway conditions that we experience in the winter here. The good winter driving habits of allowing more travel time for every trip, slowing down, and tripling your stopping distances will all be second nature to us by February. The trick is to use all of those driver safety tools right now.
OFFICERS RING THE BELL FOR THE SALVATION ARMY
Officers Jeremy Lerfald, Anna Limbeck, and Jai Hanson donated their own time to ring the bell for donations to the Salvation Army at the Lakeville Fleet Farm one cold night this past week.
The bell ringing red donation kettle campaign held every year around the holidays is the major fund raising event for the Salvation Army. The officers reported that the cold was offset by the generosity of the shoppers making donations to the red kettle as they entered and left the store.
WEEKLY LPD SNAPSHOT
Sampling of LPD activity for the week of Dec. 7 to Dec. 14, 2012
Traffic crashes: 43 Alarms: 30 Animal Calls: 30 Medical Emergency Calls: 33 Thefts: 9 Traffic Stops: 116.