NC DOT: Look In Your Own Mirror For Black Ice Accident Responsibility

This story tickles me. It is rare that any Government agency opens up and directly blames a segment of the public. Usually, we’ll get all sorts of PoliticalSpeak, platitudes, calls to do better in the future, and patronization. But not this time.

There were lots and lots of wrecks and accidents and people just sliding off the roads in the Raleigh, NC area Friday morning. So much of the snow and ice and slush had melted through the day Thursday, but froze overnight going into Friday. The temps were still below freezing during the morning time. There were even crews called in from other areas which weren’t affected by the storm to help with salting and sanding. At one point, the crews were reduced from 50 to 5, because they needed rest. They’d been going non-stop since before the storm. Then we get to the meat

(WRAL) McCurry said officials felt they were prepared to handle black ice on area roads Friday morning, adding that drivers were warned of the dangers.

“They were advised by the governor as well as DOT to maintain their speed, watching where they’re going and what they’re doing, and from what I understand, several of them didn’t,” he said. “I think we did everything we could.”

Exactly. Stay off the roads. Ice is not your friend while driving. If you have to drive, be careful.

Transportation Secretary Tony Tata agreed, saying there’s only so much road crews can do to treat black ice.

“We warned about black ice, and we worked through the night in Wake County. Was there more we could do? Sure, you can always do more,” Tata said. “But when you have 100 counties stymied by an event like this, I’m proud of the teams that moved over to help out.”

He went on to point out that there is no possible way to get all the black ice spots. The DOT used 45,000 tons of salt and sand. And they warned people time and time again to stay off the road. It’s not that difficult a concept. If you drive, your are the responsible party. If you aren’t aware of what could happen when you have cold roads, freezing temperatures, and lots of melting snow and slush, well, then, you should probably turn in your driver’s license, because you are a danger to other people, much less yourself.

Again, no apologies, no squishy political speak, not patronizing, just an acknowledgement that people were responsible for their own actions. Good for the NC DOT. We may make fun of them when we see 10 guys standing around while 1 fills in a pothole, but when the winter weather hits the fan, they work extremely hard to make the roads usable, all while dealing with the danger themselves. They rarely get to enjoy the winter weather themselves. So give them a break.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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