STATEWIDE – Driving and even walking was a challenge across Maine Friday, as freezing rain quickly left an icy glaze on roads and sidewalks.
Dozens of vehicles slid off the road or into other cars and trucks Friday morning.
“I think the freezing rain this morning caught a lot of motorists by surprise,” said Maine public safety spokesman Steve McCausland.
Several of the passengers aboard a southbound Concord Trailways bus said driving was comparable to creeping along in a traffic jam, but much more slippery.
They also said they had seen numerous cars in the ditch along Interstate 95.
They said driving conditions were so bad, the bus driver pulled over to the breakdown lane in Newport to wait for the weather to improve.
“It was predicted that we were going to have some precipitation with low temperatures, which is not a good combination,” said Steve Thebarge, regional manager for MaineDOT.
According to McCausland, some tractor trailers slide into positions which blocked traffic.
“A lot of vehicles off the roads, and tractor trailers,” McCausland said. “Fortunately, no serious injuries.”
Thebarge said people could avoid a lot of accidents if they would adjust their driving to fit the road conditions.
“Our person who’s in charge of all the crews went down. He’s been going down to Newport. He said three or four, five cars just flew by him,” Thebarge said. “And guess where they were just a few minutes down the road.”
Thebarge said even heavy-duty vehicles were having trouble Friday morning. In fact, a DOT sanding truck was among those that rolled over in Etna.
“The driver, fortunately, was not hurt,” said Thebarge.
Thebarge and McCausland agreed that adapting your drive to match the road conditions is likely to keep you alive.
“If you think by driving five or ten miles faster on the interstate it’s going to get you there quicker, it really doesn’t,” Thebarge said, “especially if you don’t make it.”