ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.
Trooper Steve was asked on Thursday, “Do you have any driving tips when encountering a ‘wall of ice?’”
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The question comes as hail storms have pounded Central Florida this week, even bringing I-95 to a standstill in Brevard County.
“Throughout my entire law enforcement career, I have never seen the weather conditions that we experienced Wednesday,” Trooper Steve said. “It is not common in Florida to see a wall of ice falling from the sky, making an entire highway come to a complete stop.”
He said drivers should always be “weather-aware,” especially since there was plenty of notice that storms would be moving through the area.
“It’s a driver’s responsibility to know what the daily conditions are going to be like so they understand what they can handle and what they can’t,” Trooper Steve said. “There is no textbook for what to do when encountering a ‘wall of ice,’ but a combination of safe-driving practices can help you out.”
When driving in serious weather conditions, a driver should not be traveling at the maximum posted speed limit, which are designed for perfect conditions.
“When ice is falling from the sky, that is far from perfect,” Trooper Steve said. “Once a driver’s ability becomes impaired, a driver should move to the right travel lane, if possible. If uncomfortable, exit the highway and find a safe parking space to wait out the storm.”
[STORY CONTINUES AFTER PREVIOUS ASK TROOPER STEVE IN VIDEO BELOW]
Drivers faced with blackout conditions should remain extremely calm, he added.
“It is natural for panic to set in if you are unable to see and still operating a car,” Trooper Steve said. “Our highways are equipped with what we call a rumble strip, the primary focus of which is to remind drivers that they are no longer in the main travel lane. If a driver becomes fatigued and begins to move out of their lane, this rumble strip gets their attention, hopefully.”
Trooper Steve said drivers who cannot see out of the vehicle should use the rumble strip for guidance to get safely on the shoulder.
“I never want a driver to come to a complete stop in the middle of a travel lane,” he said. “Once you’ve made it safely to the shoulder, stay in your car, activate your hazard lights and wait out the storm. This is a last resort, obviously, as I do not recommend ever driving in this type of serious weather. If you can wait in a parking lot or in an area that is not on a roadway, that’s what I’d be doing.”
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