Knoxville traffic collisions are expected to be on the upswing over the next few weeks, due to a tumultuous mix of intermittent rain and snowstorms throughout the region.
Our Knoxville injury lawyers understand the roads have been slick, slippery, icy and snow-laden - causing major traffic jams, a flurry of accidents and a request by authorities to stay home when the roads warrant it.
At one point, Knox County dispatchers were so overwhelmed with injuries caused by car accidents, they asked drivers involved in non-injury accidents to trade numbers and report those crashes to police once the weather had cleared.
The conditions were so bad that the local Knoxville Area Transit was only running limited snow routes, entirely bypassing streets that weren't deemed safe for travel.
Parents of schoolchildren throughout Knox County flooded local news sites and police substations with concerns that their children had left school at 2:30 p.m., yet had not made it home two hours later. As it turned out, at least one school bus got stuck in the snow. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.
Weather forecasts are predicting "a little bit of everything" before the week is out - snow, wind, rain, thunderstorms - mixed with a bit of sunshine here and there.
At the same time, a huge swath of U.S. 441, also known as the Newfound Gap Road, on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - has completely disappeared, having been swept away by recent flooding amid record rains. In fact, it's about 50 feet deep and the size of a football field. No word yet on how long repairs are going to take.
Meanwhile, a rock slide on Alcoa Highway has shut down that road indefinitely as well. Rock slides are more common when there are dramatic temperature changes, accompanied by increased precipitation.
A spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation had one word for the weather of late: "Interesting."
The fact is, motorists are going to have to be prepared for anything. The National Highway Safety Administration offers the following advice to help you in unpredictable weather:
- Get your car serviced. Have it checked for bad worn hoses, leaks or any other replacements or repairs.
- Check your battery. When the temperature drops, your battery power does as well. It can be tougher to get your vehicle to start if the weather is below freezing.
- Check your cooling system. When coolant freezes, it expands and it can damage your car's engine block. Make sure you have enough, make sure the kind you have is designed to work in colder temperatures and have a mechanic check it out for leaks.
- Fill your windshield wipers. The fluid can go quickly in just a single snowstorm. This could prove fatal if it happens while you're driving. Fill it up, use no-freeze fluid and keep extra in the vehicle, just in case.
- Double check your floor mat. If it isn't correctly installed, it could interfere with your ability to operate the accelerator or brake, leaving you at greater risk of a crash.
- Look over your tires. In optimal conditions, you'd still inspect them about once a month. If there is significant or uneven wear, it's time to get new ones.
- Plan your travel route. Check the road conditions, weather and traffic and plan to leave early if need be so you don't feel pressured to speed and you know your planned route.
- Stock your vehicle. Essentials in winter include snow shovel, ice scraper, abrasive material (sand or kitty litter) for if your car gets stuck in the snow, jumper cables, flashlight, warning devices, blankets, cell phone charger, food, water and necessary medicine.