AAA advises drivers to take their time after travel ban lifted t - WFSB 3 Connecticut

AAA advises drivers to take their time after travel ban lifted tonight

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AAA talks about the Blizzard Eugene. (WFSB) AAA talks about the Blizzard Eugene. (WFSB)

While the travel ban is expected to be lifted on Tuesday night, AAA, the governor and police are asking drivers to stay the roads if possible. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced a travel ban that went into effect at 5 a.m. on Tuesday. The ban will remain in effect until 5 p.m.  

However, drivers were urged to stay off the roads. 

“By limiting travel on state roads to only essential personnel, we dramatically reduced the potential for accidents and it has provided road crews with much greater access to clear the roads faster,” Malloy said. 

By Tuesday afternoon, state police received 342 calls and responded to 28 crashes as well as 86 calls for assistance. 

If you have to drive on Tuesday night, drivers and pedestrians were advised "to take every precaution."

“Drivers will be anxious to get going – in conditions where racing anywhere is a risk. No doubt we'll see our emergency rescue calls spike as soon as the ban is lifted. And, no doubt there will be plenty of pedestrians – also anxious to get outside - walking in the streets and sharing the slippery roadways," Amy Parmenter, who is a spokesperson for AAA in greater Hartford, said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Drivers were urged to take their time if heading out on Tuesday night. 

“Even after the snow has stopped, everyone – both drivers and pedestrians – will be at an increased risk. Avoid putting yourself or your loved ones in harm’s way,” Parmenter said. 

By 2 p.m., AAA crews were called to rescue about 100 drivers in the Greater Hartford area since the start of Blizzard Eugene. Most of the rescues were tows or winch outs. 

However, AAA said once the ban was lifted, their crews were expected to go to about 100 calls per hour. 

"Our concern is that once the travel ban is lifted, that's when the trouble starts. We expect to see the number of emergency road side calls spike,” Parmenter said. 

Plows from the state Department of Transportation have been working to clear the roads. There were 634 plow trucks and 250 private plow operators on the state highways. 

Drivers were advised to use the following tips: 

  • Slow down. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • 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.
  • If you skid, Always look and steer in the direction you want to go
  • Don’t use cruise control
  • Turn on your headlights so you can see and be seen
  • Minimize distractions

People walking on the snow-covered roads were advised to be careful on Tuesday night. 

"We want to remind people that if you are walking in the street to make sure that you walk facing traffic, make sure to wear brightly colored clothing, especially at night...see how snow is and wander into the street,” Parmenter said. "Everyone, the drivers and the walkers need to make sure they're Seen and be seen." 

Pedestrians were asked to use the following tips: 

  • Cross at intersections or crosswalks - not in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
  • If you have to walk on a road, walk facing traffic.
  • Minimize distractions
  • Put the phone away and don't use earbuds that prohibit you from hearing approaching danger.
  • Do not let jacket hoods, hats block your view of approaching traffic or limit peripheral vision.  
  • Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at dawn, dusk and night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
  • Given the snow and wet roadways, allow extra time and distance for a vehicle to stop.

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