The National Weather Service and local media weather departments are informing the public of a severe winter storm to affect regions of Kansas which encompasses Topeka and Shawnee County. The Topeka Police Department and Shawnee County Sheriff Office want the motoring public to consider choices and limitations before choosing to drive in these conditions.
First, do not go out into the bad weather unless absolutely necessary.
Listen to weather forecasts and plan accordingly by shopping and preparing for the storm in advance. Make plans to stay home. Remember neighbors and family members with special needs when making these plans.
Carry emergency supplies in the car in case your car becomes stranded. Blankets, food, water, flashlight and a cell phone should be the minimum in your emergency kit for survival.
Almost every motor vehicle accident was probably preventable, including accidents on snow and ice-packed roadways. Driving at speeds too fast for the conditions of the roadway surface is the biggest contributor to accidents in inclement weather. Drivers must drive at a reasonable and prudent speed even if that speed is just a few miles per hour. Speed limits are no longer the allowable speed if the drivers cannot control their vehicles. Do not assume that the road crews will have the roads you travel cleared off.
Every driver has limitations especially the younger and older drivers. Young drivers lack the experience to drive under these conditions. Law enforcement routinely responds to accidents where drivers under 18-years of age are involved.
Remember, emergency responders have the same transportation challenges as you and your vehicle, so it may be a long time before help arrives. Most police cruisers are two-wheel, rear-axle driven, which adds to the response times, even with experienced officers and deputies at the wheel. Tow trucks become inundated with calls for service which may make for extremely long waits.
Law enforcement understands the need for family to be together during the holidays; however, under extreme conditions you may be putting yourself or other family members at risk. Recognizing the need to postpone family events for a day or two may ensure the safety of those important to all of us.