Oklahoma’s icy roads cause trouble for drivers

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Monday morning’s icy conditions caused trouble for drivers, especially on roads with hills.

“There’s been cars slid off the road in every direction,” said Brad Gillenwater.

LOCAL NEWS: Blog: Winter storm brings cold temperatures and ice

A handful of cars were abandoned or unable to conquer the hills along NE 122nd, near Eastern Avenue.

“This is one of the worst one’s I’ve ever driven in,” said Blake Hitchcock. “For a lot of people, I’m sure that’s really scary.”

Hitchcock told KFOR he was driving with his boss when realized he wasn’t going to make it up the hill.

“It’s just too slick,” said Hitchcock. “It’s not worth putting a car in a ditch. So, this is why I’m parked where I am.”

Even our news crew got stuck for a few hours, but we’re all okay.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department said it responded to 16 crashes with injuries across the metro Monday morning. Because the roads were so dangerous, crews stopped responding to accidents where no one was hurt.

Fortunately the Oklahoma Standard was in full force, with heroes like Brad Gillenwater.

“I helped three or four of them [stuck cars] now. It’s one of the advantages of having a truck, helping people head on their way,” said Gillenwater. “Just thought I’d be a good Samaritan and help some people out.”

LOCAL NEWS: Winter weather causes problems for Oklahoma drivers

AAA also offers the following safety tips for driving in icy conditions:

  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in winter conditions, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate. Stay home until crews can properly clear roadways.

  • Check road conditions. Before you leave, assess the conditions of roads along your route.

  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on ice- and snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

  • Manage a skid. If you lose traction and begin to spin or skid on snow or ice, don’t slam on the brakes. Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go, until your tires regain traction.

  • Increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.

  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.

  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KFOR.com Oklahoma City.