Icy conditions caused accidents throughout Ector County and surrounding areas on Thursday morning.
There were 30 crashes responded to in the area through a 12-hour period Thursday, Texas Department of Public Safety Spokesman Sgt. Oscar Villarreal said in the afternoon.
First responders in the area worked on minor accidents and several rollovers. Those 30 accidents piled up between 1 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“We were really busy,” Villarreal said.
In Odessa alone, there were about 15 crashes in the city between midnight and 9 a.m., City of Odessa Public Information Coordinator Andrea Goodson said.
Those accidents were mostly on overpasses on I-20, Loop 338 and area highways, after fog and some precipitation fell over the area in freezing overnight temperatures, but no serious bodily injuries or fatalities were reported in Odessa, Goodson said.
“We had some freezing fog and some light drizzle, and that was just probably enough to make things slick,” said Douglas Cain, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Midland-Odessa office.
From Thursday on, morning conditions are expected to improve, with overnight lows expected to stay above freezing Friday and Saturday.
“Now we’re above freezing, so things should be a little better,” Cain said.
Still, icy conditions caused plenty of problems Thursday, leaving Villarreal to urge drivers to prepare for the next time conditions freeze.
“Almost every crash is preventable; 99.7 percent of them are preventable,” Villarreal said. “The biggest thing we see when there’s weather-related crashes — we’re usually driving too fast for the existing conditions, and we don’t listen and we don’t avoid bridges and overpasses like we should.
“Just be aware that the West Texas weather does change pretty quickly, and when it does change, and you watch your local forecaster and they tell you, ‘Hey, we’re going to have freezing weather conditions,’ expect a longer commute and take the time to get where you’re going if you have to go somewhere,” he added.
>> Be patient.
>> Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.
>> Reduce your speed to a speed that allows you to maintain control of your vehicle. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
>> Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice. Leave more space between vehicles.
>> Start slowing down as you approach intersections and be prepared to wait on other vehicles approaching from the opposite direction.
>> Make sure your windows are thawed out before you start driving. Drivers need 360-degree vision.
>> Call the Texas Department of Public Safety’s stranded motorist hotline toll free at 800-525-5555.
—Information provided by City of Odessa Spokesperson Andrea Goodson