Ride along

GREAT FALLS- Winter weather brings an array of problems when it comes to driving safely.

However, in addition to snow plows and road crews clearing the streets, law enforcement officers are working just as hard to make sure you stay safe.

“When we respond, we don't investigate the accident itself; but we still respond to ensure the health and safety of the drivers and occupants of each vehicle,” says Kevin Lindland, a Cascade County Sheriff’s Deputy.

“Sharp turns usually, I mean, if you don't have the traction to make it around that corner at the speed you're going, obviously you need to slow down because we see a lot of slide-off's around corners. Typically with tractors trailers, or semi's, they lose traction going up hills so they get stuck and need to chain up,” explains Lindland.

These types of calls aren't even including the ones unrelated to traffic incidents.  

With an increased emergency call volume, time is of the essence in every situation.

In some cases for law enforcement officers, slowing down isn't always the best thing.

“The toughest part is the waiting periods because they're obviously very busy themselves with all of the crashes and investigations they're doing and everything. So being tied up on that call, and if something else comes in, not breaking away, or not being able to break away immediately,” explains Lindland.

If you do see deputies responding to a call, there are a few things they're asking you to keep in mind.

“If you see the emergency vehicles blocking or trying to direct traffic, be cognizant of the red and blue lights. We're there for a reason. We're not trying to hinder your transportation. We're trying to make the entire situation safe,” says Lindland.

One of the most common things deputies see this time of year are speed related accidents.

A simple way you can help is by slowing down and giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.

However, sometimes Mother Nature has a way of messing things up, even if you're doing everything right.

The good news is, the sheriff's office understands that.

“If it was a mistake and weather related that they went through a stop sign, and nobody got hurt or anything like that, or there wasn't an accident, I would still pull them over and make sure they're okay and their vehicle is operating conditions wise; and just let them know they need to drive a little bit more careful,” says Lindland.

Despite the increase in accidents and traffic issues, one of the best things deputies like to see are all of the other drivers getting home safely.

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