Pike County has been turned into a icy winter wonderland on two occasions this month, much to the delight of area drivers and emergency responders.
When ice storms struck the northeastern Missouri on Feb. 1 and again Feb. 15, the area had hardly enough time to thaw out before it was hit again.
“The first one was brutal,” said Brad Deters, owner of Bowling Green Tire and Auto, adding that the roads were some of the worst he’d seen.
Pike County Sheriff Stephen Korte reported that motor vehicle accidents increased more than tenfold on these days, putting his deputies in high demand.
When the first ice storm hit on Feb. 1, the Sheriff’s office reported that three deputies, each responding to calls of vehicle accidents, were all subject to the icy conditions, sliding off the roads themselves.
“Two of them were in four-wheel-drive vehicles,” Korte added.
His office responded to 10 wrecks on that day.
Bud Jones, owner of Jones Wrecker Service, recalled one accident from the first storm on Highway E, north of Curryville, in which his wrecker was unable to make it to the scene because of the dangerous and unmanageable roads.
Exactly two weeks later, Pike County was hit with a second ice storm, solidifying and worsening the existing wintery conditions.
On Feb. 15, Sheriff Korte said his department received calls of 12 accidents.
For those that have no choice but to brave the roads, taking it slow may be their best bet.
“Driving slow is definitely the best policy,” Korte explained.
Although he noted that, in some situations, slow and steady may not be the answer, either. As many roads in the area have large hills and banked curves, drivers can lose momentum and slide into the curve or back down a hill if they are not maintaining enough speed.
The recommendation for travelling in these conditions was the same across the board: Don’t. The Sheriff and business owners all say to stay home during the bad weather, if at all possible.
Staying off the roads is the only solution to not risk the safety of commuters and first responders.