'I'm 80,000 pounds, there's no way I'm stopping that truck and people just don't get it'


    Hwy 138E near Glide (Courtesy Kelly Hink)

    EUGENE, Ore .- Icy, slippery conditions are adding to an already dangerous drive with a wave of recent crashes along Interstate 5, partly due to wintry conditions.

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    “It's slick, it's icy in spots," said Rick Arres, a Truck Driver for JR's Freight Services. "Most other trucks are doing 35-40, cars are going along 50, 65 and they spin out and cause major accidents."

    Oregon State Police report responding to 372 crashes statewide on Monday and Tuesday, with 93 on I-5 alone.

    “They're going way too fast for the conditions," said Matthew Riverman, another truck driver. "They never learn and this happens every year."

    Some of the most dangerous winter driving has been north of Eugene.

    Truck drivers at Travel Centers of AmericaTruck Stop in Coburg say years behind the wheel have taught them that being aware of the roads and the drivers around you are key to staying safe.

    “We live in these things, we're in these weather conditions all the time," said Arres. "They pay attention to what the trucks are doing, they wouldn't have so many problems."

    From January 27th through the 29th, there wasn’t a single crash along I-5 from Albany to Salem. However, in the last few days from February 3rd-5th, there have been three.

    “You know I'm 80,000 pounds, there's no way I'm stopping that truck and people just don't get it," said Riverman. "They think to save two seconds they're going to risk their lives and I see it everyday."

    Oregon Department of Transportation Public Information Officer, Angela Beers Seydel, says bridges and overpasses are some of the more risky spots along the corridor.

    Both areas are more likely to have ice buildup causing slippery conditions.

    “Slow down, you know you don't need to be doing 65 mph when it's 32 degrees,” said Riverman.

    Safety tips from longtime drivers who are on the road every day.

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