First responders advice to drivers: Stay off the roads, but if you must travel, read this

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Huntsville police officers and Huntsville firefighters geared up for a long evening Friday. First responders say they anticipate several weather related accidents.  They are advising drivers to stay off of the roadways unless you absolutely have to travel.

Mac McFarlen with Huntsville Fire and Rescue explains their top concern, "One of the main things we are worried about are people driving, mainly transportation."

Agencies are bringing in extra staff to help, but even then they expect to be overwhelmed. Sgt. Mark Shahan with Huntsville Police Department says, "If we have a lot of accidents due to either ice or rain/snow, if they start piling up we can't send officers to all of the accidents." Several of the accidents are caused by drivers traveling too close to the vehicle in front of them.

It is also important to be aware of the wind while driving. "If the wind plays up, if you are driving lets say even a large truck, and a 25 to 30 mile per hour wind and the road is already slick, that can make a difference," says McFarlen. While the wind speed can be very dangerous, it can also help road conditions. If wind picks up, it could help blow some of the water and snow off of the road which would help prevent the dangers of black ice.

If you are in a situation were you see a wreck, or if you are involved one, do not call 9-1-1 unless the wreck is serious. Only call police if someone is injured or if there  is major damage to one of the vehicles involved in the wreck. "If there are no injuries in the accidents, all they need to do is contact their insurance agents report to them. We will not be doing a report for them. If they do need a report on it because their is an injury involved, we will come to all the accidents with injuries involved in them and do a report on that," says Sgt. Shahan.

For anyone who drives up to an accident or passes a car in the ditch, check to see if any of the cars have yellow tape around it. If they do, that means agencies have already responded and cleared the scene. First responders do this so that they are not responding to the same accident several times in one night.