State Patrol, plow crews call for patience and 'common sense' during snowy commute

NOW: State Patrol, plow crews call for patience and ’common sense’ during snowy commute

WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The first significant snowfall of the year came later than many anticipated with Tuesday afternoon's accumulation causing tricky road conditions for the evening commute.

"These are the kind of days when we get a little bit nervous," explained Trooper Nicholas Lorenzen with the Wisconsin State Patrol. "People are more adapt to driving on dryer, safer roads and then all of a sudden you get a hazardous system that comes through and creates hazardous roadways, and that's where it might catch people off guard. They're not paying attention or they think they can handle the roadways like they normally would on dry pavement and that's not the case."

Emergency crews responded to several crashes Tuesday afternoon throughout the southeastern part of Wisconsin as drivers attempted to navigate the tricky road conditions.

Trooper Lorenzen says this first significant snowfall of the season serves as a good reminder for drivers to use common sense and leave plenty of space for crews and emergency responders out on the highways attempting to help drivers who may become stranded get to safety.

"We're also concerned about our own safety for passing traffic that's passing us in the hazardous weather," Trooper Lorenzen explained. "We want to make sure these drivers are paying attention, using common sense, giving us the room that we need to work on the side of the road."

Space is what Waukesha County Highway Patrol Supervisor Hans Guderyon says is needed for his crews as well, as they work to keep the roads clear by plowing and applying salt and other anti-icing materials.

"We have our guys out there. They know what their job is and they just need the time to do it," Guderyon explained, indicating that traffic is the biggest challenge his drivers face while clearing the highways. "Traffic and time. Obviously, giving the plows a safe enough space to operate and maneuver is the biggest hassle that we go through."

According to Guderyon, the Waukesha County Highway Department has 52 trucks out on the highways assisting with cleanup efforts, adding that this first snowfall of the year is a good trial run for crews and drivers.

"We've had a little bit here and there, but you know, it's better than a foot of snow getting dumped on us," Guderyon said. "Of course, the timing isn't perfect, but school's not in session right now; a lot of people have off on vacation and traffic is not has heavy as it would be on a normal, typical work day. This is a good trial run for everybody."

Trooper Lorenzen said the State Patrol will also have extra troopers out on patrol ready to help anyone who may get into an incident.

"We want to get people safe. Work the way we need to work, clear crash scenes, things of that nature, on the side of the road," Trooper Lorenzen said.

"We also get nervous because we want to go home safely at the end of every shift as well. We don't want to get hit by any passing vehicles."

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