‘There’s nothing more important than your life:’ Officials urge caution when driving on snowy roads

MADISON, Wis. — It’s a busy time of year for anyone in the towing business. Adrian Farrow can tell you that much.

Farrow is the manager of Tugaway Towing and Services in Madison, where he sends help to around 25 calls per day. Many callers, he said, are calling from ditches.

“The first snowfall, everybody forgets how to drive,” he said. 

Sunday night’s snow wasn’t too much of an undertaking for Farrow and his staff, with the late hours and holiday creating less traffic for him to help.

Tugaway’s typical response time is anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour, but the pandemic hasn’t been of any help in maintaining those numbers.

“We’re not staffed correctly, we’re not ready, people are out sick,” he said.“I think that’s the biggest thing right now, COVID is hitting us hard.”

His biggest message for drivers hoping not to have to make that dispatch call? Slow down.

“If you’re out there on the roads and you have to be, take it slow,” he said. “There’s nothing more important than your life.”

State Trooper David Yang echoed that message, adding that preparation is key.

“I would recommend an extra phone charger, make sure your phone is fully charged, extra pair of clothes just in case you get stranded out there,” he said. 

Yang said the Wisconsin State Patrol typically keeps four to six troopers out on the roads to ensure safety and hopefully to minimize the number of crashes they have to respond to. That number has been 3,400 between 2010 and 2020.

“We do recommend people to slow down, especially with the conditions and the weather,” he said. “We understand that people want to get places but we urge people to slow down.”