Drivers in the Quad Cities are discovering that the cold can be just as dangerous as the snow after two pile-ups in three days on the Interstate 74 Bridge.
On Monday, February 3rd, 2014, Bettendorf Police say a driver switched lanes abruptly to exit I-74. When that happens, other drivers slammed on the brakes, hit some black ice, and swerved - resulting in an accident that involved 31 cars and 12 people hospitalized. Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington tells News 8 that they don't have a very good description of the vehicle that switched lanes that morning and so they probably won't be able to find him or her.
Three days later, Chief Redington says "an erratic driver" was swerving in and out of traffic, hit some black ice, and caused an accident involving 8 cars. The driver has been charged with reckless driving, according to Bettendorf Police's Public Information Officer, Lauran Haldeman.
As a result of these two accidents, Chief Redington is asking drivers to slow down.
"They call it 'black ice' for a reason," he says. "You just don't notice it and when you do, it's usually too late.
"We just ask people to use good common sense. I think the majority of people that live in the Quad Cities know that the bridges can be dangerous and they should be aware of that and drive slow."
According to the Bi-State Regional Commission, 60,700 vehicles travel over the Interstate 74 Bridge on an average day. Many of those vehicles have to because 20% of Quad City area residents live in one state and work in another, says the Commission.
In addition, when it's too cold, the salt and sand that Iowa Department of Transportation Plow Drivers lay down can become inactive, causing more slick spots especially on bridges. Chief Redington says it's up to drivers to take responsibility.
"It appears that people aren't slowing down or paying attention to what they're doing, so any advice I can give the drivers is drive careful all the time, but especially when you're heading towards a bridge like the I-74 Bridge."
Chief Redington says the other problem with many bridges is when an accident happens, there isn't anywhere to go. Chief Redington says he is looking forward to a new I-74 Bridge, which will be wider and include shoulders. However, Quad City residents still have a few winters to deal with before that new bridge is built. Click here to find out when construction is expected to start.