Drivers, LSP learn lessons from last week's ice storm

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Monday, January 27, 2014 - 11:11pm

Last week's ice storm caught a lot of people by surprise, including drivers who didn't realize how dangerous the roads would be.

But everybody is learning their lesson this time around.

"Everything was frozen," Jazzica Bell recalled, "even the car wouldn't back up!"

"You know, that type of weather here in Louisiana is very unexpected," said Tfc. Jared Sandifer of the Louisiana State Police. "Unfortunately, we did have a lot of crashes, a lot of incidents that law enforcement and first responders had to react to. This time, with the weather looking like it's going to be the same way as it was last week, we're just that much more ready to respond."

During last week's storm, people did not understand how bad the roads would be, so they went out and drove in poor conditions.

"We did see a lot of people that were out, just kind of sightseeing, maybe running errands," Sandifer stated. "And when weather's like this, that's not the time to be on the roadways."

But drivers seem much more prepared, and much more cautious, ahead of this storm.

"You might as well say, 'the lock-in,' cause everything is probably gonna be shut down," Falesha Augustus said. "They're already saying school's closed, so it's just a matter of time."

"If it freezes this time, I'm pretty sure we'll be sitting in front of the fireplace for the rest of the evening," agreed Travis Purnell.

The Louisiana State Police is also making adjustments, which should help keep everyone safe.

"Yeah, we definitely learned some of the problem areas, some of the areas that are more prone to ice over," Sandifer mentioned, "so we're going to have more troopers, more law enforcement officers out there, trying to shut down those areas."

Shutting down the freeways and bridges kept a lot of people from getting home at a reasonable hour and angered  a lot of drivers. But an attitude adjustment is just another change people are prepared to make.

"At first, I was really, really upset, because I had to get off the interstate," Augustus stated. "I felt like, at first I felt like it's a waste of time. I felt like we could've still drove on the interstate. But after seeing the actual ice on the bridge, I was, like, 'well, maybe they did do the right things.' So I'm not going to fault them for it. Hey, they did it right, safety first."

Sandifer recommended that people stay home and not get behind the wheel unless necessary during the storm. But if a trip is required, drive slowly and plan ahead.

"Maybe look at a road map, look at the map online before you get on the road, that way you're not stuck if something does happen, and you have an alternate plan."

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