Road Patrol: Officers encouraging drivers to follow driving laws closely during winter

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BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – By Thursday in Buckhannon, most of the snow dropped by this week’s storm had already melted away. But with it fresh in people’s memory, police officers said it’s important to alter how you drive to stay legal too. Buckhannon Police Lieutenant Doug Loudin said driving the speed limit during icy weather doesn’t mean you’re safe from a citation in an accident.

“You know, if you are involved in a wreck because you were driving too fast for conditions, that’s failure to maintain control. That’s driving too fast for conditions. There’s no set speed limit, so it’s officer’s discretion as to whether or not to issue a citation for that,” said Loudin.

Officers also remind people that as much as it may not be pleasant to climb into a cold car, starting a car to warm it up while you wait inside is also against the law because of what might happen while it’s running.

“There’s always the possibility that it could pop out of gear too and crash into somebody’s house or another car,” Loudin said.

Loudin acknowledges that sometimes accidents happen. But if it’s serious enough, a winter accident can easily go from a citation to jail time based on whether or not a person was driving safe, and if anyone was injured, among other criteria.

“If it’s severe, that would dictate what we would criminally charge the person with. Reckless driving is jailable, so that would obviously be one,” said Loudin.

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