Driving safety critical after deadly 380 accident - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Driving safety critical after deadly 380 accident

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Friday afternoon, one man was killed and several others injured in a series of crashes on Interstate 380 near Gilbertville. It happened in heavy weekend traffic, a common occurrence on Fridays.

But the Iowa State Patrol said busy travel periods don’t need to be dangerous

"Fridays and Sundays are our busiest days,” said Senior Trooper Mark Sigwarth of the Iowa State Patrol. “Why? You've got your weekend traffic. One of the first things that we tell people, whether it's Friday or anytime during the week in a construction zone, is that you need to slow down."

Yet it happens all too often – one accident slows traffic, and more accidents snowball in the resulting delays, as rescuers respond to the primary accident.

Sigwarth said it’s all too clear why these ancillary accidents occur – distracted drivers that don’t notice stopped cars ahead of them.

"When you divide your attention someplace else, whether it's a phone or a text message, whatever the case may be, in that second or two things can change really quickly,” he said.

According to the Department of Transportation, the easiest way to avoid congested areas is by planning routes ahead of time.

"We're just asking traffic to use alternate routes when possible,” said Ron Loescher, Resident Construction Engineer for the Iowa DOT District 2.

The 380 accidents brought traffic to a standstill for hours on Friday. As travelers stepped out of their idling cars to figure out what was going on, one man said he’d rather the flow of traffic travel slower and safer, than have to stop for accident.

"We're just going to be a few minutes late,” Robert Darvy said. “If everyone would just slow down and take an extra few minutes we might not be standing here."

Because in the end, adding a few minutes to a trip by slowing down could be the difference between life and death.

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