When it comes to road conditions, snow is a lot better than ice.
Tuesday’s heavy snowfall brought relatively few traffic accidents in the Hall County area, but it could be a different story Wednesday, when ice-slickened roads could create perilous driving conditions.
Large, wet flakes falling in temperatures that hovered around the freezing mark brought accumulations of up to 3 inches in areas Tuesday morning and afternoon, but roads were mostly in good conditions thanks to county and state road crews. Relatively few accidents were reported after a morning rush of wrecks.
The most serious accident of the day occurred in northeastern Forsyth County near the Hall County line, where a woman crashed her car into a creek near Keith Bridge Road and Cantrell Circle about 4 p.m. Tuesday. She was taken to North Fulton Regional Hospital in Roswell with critical injuries, Forsyth County fire officials said.
In Hall County, there were 28 wrecks Tuesday morning and afternoon, with 17 of the crashes occurring between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., according to Hall County 911 and sheriff’s officials. Most were minor crashes, and there were no serious injuries reported.
The volume of calls to 911 operators was fewer than in previous winter weather events this year, according to Leigh Jarrell, operations manager of the Hall County 911 Center. On Feb. 12, a snowy and icy Friday, operators got calls for 78 wrecks in a three-hour afternoon span.
“The snow is much easier to deal with than the ice,” Jarrell said.
The 911 Center late Tuesday was bracing for more calls if ice became an issue overnight, bringing at least one extra operator in to field calls this morning.
Gainesville Police Lt. Gary Entreken said Tuesday was “relatively quiet, as far as traffic accidents go.”
“Generally where we see the problems is when the snow becomes slushy and refreezes overnight,” Entreken said. “The (wreck) calls start coming in around 7 and 8 o’clock, around rush hour.”
“If people don’t have to get out and drive, please stay at home,” Entreken said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Hall County deputies saw few wreck calls, after a flurry of crashes in the morning.
Sheriff’s Col. Jeff Strickland said most of the crashes were on less-traveled secondary roads and in subdivisions.
Strickland the road work done by county and state officials helped. School closures were also a factor in the relatively light traffic seen on roads Tuesday.
“School being out takes a lot of traffic off the roads,” Strickland said.
Gainesville and Hall schools were closed Tuesday and also are closed Wednesday, though teachers are to report at 10 a.m.
On Mount Vernon Road at Buckhorn Circle, tow truck driver Bobby Lester said his employer, Curt’s Towing, was slammed with calls Tuesday morning. Lester had some trouble pulling out a Ford Expedition that had careened down an embankment and landed on its roof. The driver was not seriously injured.
“They’re sliding off the road — I’ve had two on their tops, so far,” Lester said. “We’ve had four (tow trucks) running as hard as they could go.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation was starting its second shift at 8 p.m. and will work until 8 a.m. Wednesday, with trucks spreading a rock and salt combination and plowing some snow-covered roads.
Georgia DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope urged motorists to check conditions before heading out on the roads Wednesday morning, with overnight temperatures expected to dip into the 20s and make many roads icy.
“Tomorrow could be much worse than today,” Pope said Tuesday.