State police respond to more than 400 crashes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Winter Storm Barbara

State police respond to more than 400 crashes

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

Connecticut State Police have responded to more than 400 crashes during Winter Storm Barbara on Friday. 

With the arrival of Winter Storm Barbara, Eyewitness News sent the Early Warning Weather Tracker out on Friday to check out the road conditions.

Road conditions rapidly deteriorated during the 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. hour. 

The Department of Transportation said driving conditions were bad Friday morning and into the early evening hours.

"[Interstate] 84 has definitely been difficult," said Kevin Nursick of the DOT. "Particularly with the tractor trailers."

Spin outs were reported across the state.  State police said they responded to 403 crashes between midnight and 5 p.m. 

While the snow was steady and created limited visibility, police asked drivers to slow down, follow at a safe distance and use their lights, wipers and seat belts.

During the storm on Friday morning, the northbound side of Merritt Parkway in Fairfield was closed between Exits 44-47 after a crash and slick conditions.  The eastbound side of I-84 was also closed at exit 73 in Union after crash. 

AAA said the closing of most schools made for a quiet morning for their Emergency Roadside teams. However that changed as AAA officials calls "increased to more than a hundred calls an hour late this morning and continued at that pace well into the afternoon."

“Call volume spiked between 7 and 10 [a.m.]" said Amy Parmenter, AAA spokesperson. “AAA got more calls from drivers who slid off the road and needed help than we have at any other time this season."

AAA said they were called to almost 850 calls for emergency roadside service. The highest call volume was between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. AAA crews were called to more than 225 drivers during that two-hour period. 

“Perhaps drivers who went to work were trying to get home or maybe some were convinced that the worst of the storm had passed. Whatever the reason, the calls just keep on coming," Parmenter said.  

There were about 50 calls just for" extrication", which Parmenter said that usually means "a driver slid off the road and needed to be rescued." There were also several calls to AAA for tows. 

When drivers get stuck, AAA officials advise them to do the following: 

  • Run your car only long enough to reheat but make an effort to conserve fuel
  • If you are on the side of the road, mark your vehicle with a flare or bright flag to increase visibility
  • Call a friend or family member to notify them of your whereabouts
  • Stay warm using extra blankets or clothing you may have on hand

Highway signs from the Department of Transportation continue to warn drivers of the worsening conditions.

For live and up-to-date information about the traffic situation, check the WFSB traffic page here.

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