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Poor road conditions lead to crashes across Memphis area | How to avoid an accident

Several accidents were reported across the area Tuesday morning, and the roads could remain slick through Wednesday.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — There are slick, icy roads across the Mid-South Tuesday morning, and they could stay that way through Wednesday.

Several accidents were reported across the area Tuesday morning, and Memphis Police said they are in their inclement weather policy, meaning officers are only responding to accidents involving injuries or incidents of crime.

MPD said there were three crashes at S. Third St. and I-55 involving at least 12 cars. MPD said five people were transported to the hospital in non-critical condition. 

There was a two vehicle crash at Summer Ave. between and N. Bingham and Scott St. MPD said Memphis Fire Department did not make any transports to the scene. 

There was also a three car crash at I-40 and U.S.-64, but no injuries were reported. 

Another accident occurred at I-40 and Canada Rd. MPD said there were injuries. It is unclear how many people were injured, and their current conditions are unknown.

MPD's inclement weather policy

Under the inclement weather policy, Memphis Police won’t respond to every crash unless it involves injuries or a crime like DUI.

While they are working under this policy, MPD said to do the following should you be involved in an accident:

  • Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information and tag numbers of the vehicles involved
  • Take photograph(s) of the damage and tag number of vehicles involved
  • Both drivers should call the nearest Memphis Police Station or the Memphis Police Traffic Office to report the accident. This should be done within five (5) working days.
  • An Officer or PST will complete a Crash Report or a “Non-Investigated Crash Report” (NIR).

Drivers should be especially cautious, as it may take several hours to clear an accident while officers are not available.

How to stay safe on the roads

Once of the biggest dangers is black ice – when the road looks okay, until a driver hits a patch of ice they didn’t see. It’s especially a problem in early morning hours before the sun can warm roadways. Bridges and underpasses can be the biggest issues. Cold wind can whip around bridges, bringing down the surface temperatures, and underpasses often don’t get enough sun to warm the roadway.

So what should you do if you hit black ice? It may seem counter-intuitive for drivers. If you feel your wheels slipping, take your foot off the gas, resist the urge to slam down your brake pedal and coast until you get traction again. If you start to skid, steer into the skid instead of away from it.

But your best bet is to stay at home if you don't have to be out.

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