KPD e-News Release: Kingsport Police Stress Caution and Preparedness in Light of Continued Winter Weather Forecast

Kingsport Police Department

200 Shelby Street • Kingsport, TN 37660

ThomasMPatton • 423-229-9433 (Desk) • 423-224-2786 (FAX)

http://Police.KingsportTN.govwww.KingsportPDBlog.com

NEWS RELEASE
SUBJECT: Kingsport Police Stress Caution and Preparedness in Light of Continued Winter Weather Forecast
DATE: January 21, 2016
GENERAL NARRATIVE
As of January 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM, the Kingsport Police Department has responded to 54 weather related motor vehicle collisions (5 of which resulted in injury), 47 weather related stranded motorists, and 5 weather related abandoned vehicles since the start of this most recent winter weather event. And every single one of these motorists in the above statistics had one thing in common…they thought their driving skill and their vehicle’s abilities were capable of handling the conditions…but they were mistaken.

Anyone who was forced to abandon their vehicle yesterday or overnight due to the weather is asked to make arrangements to have that vehicle moved as soon as possible. Today’s break in the weather has offered a window of opportunity to accomplish this before the next winter storm strikes. Any vehicles abandoned on roadways or right-of-ways that are not removed in a timely manner by the owner will have to be towed by the Kingsport Police Department at the owner’s expense.

The National Weather Service has issued a second Winter Storm Warning which is in effect from midnight tonight, January 21, 2016, until 4:00 AM on Sunday, January 24, 2016. A winter storm is expected to impact the region this weekend, bringing heavy snowfall of 2 to 5 inches to the area. The snow will cause hazardous driving conditions, especially on secondary roads. During the height of the snowfall, some roads may become impassable. Snowfall intensities may be enough to substantially reduce visibility. Travel is discouraged.

Should this forecast come to fruition, the Kingsport Police Department will continue to stress for citizens to STAY HOME UNLESS IT IS AN ABSOLUTE EMERGENCY! K.P.D. would like to reiterate the following winter weather driving tips to area motorists.

1) When in doubt, STAY HOME. If the roads are covered with snow and/or ice and travel is not an emergency, the answer is simple…STAY OFF THE ROAD! Be patient and let Public Works crews do their job and get the roads cleared for safe travel.

2) If you absolutely must travel, slow everything down. Everything should be done slower…slower acceleration, slower braking, slower steering, etc. Leave extra room (a safety buffer) in front of and behind your vehicle. Also, plan ahead. If you know that you are going to need to stop or turn ahead, don’t wait until the last second to start the process. Motorists should also seek a route that incorporates the most level streets and the least amount of incline. And yes, this advice applies to seemingly invincible 4 wheel drive vehicles as well.

3) If you absolutely must travel, stock your car with emergency items such as a charged cell phone with charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, warm clothing, blankets, food, water, boots, gloves, a shovel, sand or cat litter for traction, etc.

4) Turn on your headlights…not just your corner parking lights, but your actual headlights. Your headlights should be on so that you can see, but even more importantly, so that you can be seen by other motorists. This suggestion is even more critical for automobiles that are the same color as snow (white) or the same color as the pavement (silver, gray, charcoal, black, etc.)

5) If your car becomes stuck and it is safely off the roadway, and you need to temporarily abandon it, call Kingsport Central Dispatch at 423-246-9111 and let them know who you are, the make, model, color, and license plate number of your vehicle, and a number where you can be reached.

6) If your car becomes stuck and it is still in the roadway, turn on your hazard lights, call Kingsport Central Dispatch at 423-246-9111, and stay with your vehicle until a police officer and wrecker arrive to remove it from the traffic lane.

Citizens are encouraged to regularly check in on any elderly or disabled family members, friends, or neighbors. Pets need to be brought inside or at the very least given plenty of food and water (unfrozen), and appropriate warm/dry bedding and shelter. Winter storms also often result in power outages, water line breaks, downed trees, and other issues.

Power outages should be reported 24 hours-a-day to American Electric Power (A.E.P.) by calling 800-967-4237.

During regular business hours, water line breaks can be reported directly to the City of Kingsport Water Department by calling 423-229-9416.

Also during regular business hours, hazardous roadway conditions, downed trees, etc. can be reported directly to the City of Kingsport Public Works Department by calling 423-229-9451.

After hours, both of these issues may be reported by calling the NON-EMERGENCY number to Kingsport Central Dispatch, 423-246-9111.

CALLING 9-1-1 SHOULD ALWAYS BE RESERVED FOR GENUINE EMERGENCIES!

RELEASING OFFICER
Thomas M. Patton, Public Information Officer

Kingsport Police Department Professional Standards Unit