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Officials urge safety during winter weather

It is that time of year again when snow becomes a possibility and roads are likely to sport patches of ice during freezing temperatures. To stay safe, officials are encouraging people to take the necessary precautions to prepare for winter weather.

Franklin County EMA Director Mary Hallman Glass said the biggest piece of advice she can give people during bad winter weather is to stay at home as much as possible.

“Unless it is something where you absolutely have to be out, stay off the roads,” Hallman Glass said.

She said she also encourages people to take alerts about bad weather seriously and prepare appropriately.

“People just need to listen to the weather service, and when they give out a warning, take it seriously,” she said. “I know that things don’t always come true, but it is better safe than sorry.”

Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said a lot of the accidents the police department sees during bad weather are either from people not allowing themselves enough time to get somewhere or people panicking because they do not know how to drive in those road conditions.

“Most people in this area don’t know how to drive on this type of slick roadway,” Hargett said. “If they hit a patch of ice, a lot of people start to panic and slam on their brakes, which causes more trouble for them.”

Hargett said it is important for people to know during winter weather conditions, more time is needed for travel, and it is never a good idea to quickly accelerate or slam on the brakes.

Hallman Glass said winter weather can cause a lot of problems for drivers even when the road is not icy.

“Drive slow because you never know when you are going to go into an area where the power may be out or trees may be down,” Hallman Glass said. “If it is icy, there can be ice in the trees, which causes them to fall.”

Hallman Glass said she also recommends everyone keep emergency supplies in their vehicles at all times, such as a blanket, flashlight, water bottles and snack food.

Hargett said some of the first stretches of roadway to freeze are bridges and overpasses, which causes trouble for some people.

“Watch for any sort of wet-looking spot and just assume it is ice,” Hargett said. “Don’t slam on the brakes or panic; just let off of the accelerator.”

Hargett agreed with Hallman Glass and said the best tip for staying safe during inclement weather is to stay off the road as much as possible.

“Unless you have to be out, don’t risk endangering your life or the lives of others,” Hargett said.

Hallman Glass said when winter weather is coming in, it is always a good idea for people to be prepared to stay at home and make sure they have enough supplies.

“I know some people in this recent snow we had ran out of propane, so they didn’t have any heat,” Hallman Glass said.

She said to make sure there is enough food and water to get through any bad weather, and stock up on what you will need for heat.

It is also recommended to keep faucets dripping during freezing weather to help prevent pipes from busting.

“I know real bad winter weather is not something we see here often, but it does still happen,” Hallman Glass said. “Everyone just needs to be sure they prepare and take stuff seriously when we get alerts about bad weather.”