Slick Roads Send Cars Sliding – MHP Scrambling To Respond
The first calls came in to 9-1-1 late Wednesday evening with vehicles sliding off icy roads in the Butte and Kalispell areas, then as the weather front struck the Missoula area, I-90 became a skating rink for the morning commute.
Montana Highway Patrol Captain Jim Kitchen said troopers were busy responding all night and into the morning hours on Thursday.
"We started with crashes yesterday evening and it really culminated in rush hour today," Kitchen said. "We started going out on crashes at about 5:45 this morning. It's settled down a bit now, but the guys out in the Superior area are getting hit pretty hard. The wind's coming up and it puts a little sheen of ice on the roadway and people are still driving like it's summer out."
Kitchen said a favorite expression with troopers is '4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop'.
"When you hit the binders on four-wheel drive you'll go spinning around," he said. "Another thing we tell people is watch out for the black ice, and do not use cruise control in the winter. If you hit an icy bridge deck with cruise control you're going to lose control and over correct, and that's when you get into trouble."
Kitchen said he was thankful that there had been no serious injuries as of 11:00 a.m.
He encouraged drivers to watch the video attached to this story that demonstrates the importance of slowing down during the approach to an accident scene with emergency vehicles and to move to the opposite lane to give law enforcement and EMT's room to operate safely.