Sheriff Gentry advises, ‘stay home’ during winter weather 

Authorities on the scene along U.S. Highway 231 in Morgan County early Monday morning (Courtesy of the Morgan County Sheriff's Office)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Following a 20-plus vehicle pileup along U.S. Highway 231 in Morgan County early Monday morning, Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry is urging residents to stay home if they do not have to be out in deteriorating conditions. 

“Only travel when necessary during this icy/rainy weather,” said Gentry. “If it is a must that you get out, pay attention to the temperature and try to travel when temperatures are above freezing. The safest option is to stay at home.”

Being aware of ones surroundings is crucial, said Gentry.

“If you have to work, make preparations for your route. Try to avoid bridges or rural roads. Stay on heavily traveled county roads, state highways, the interstate or any roads that have been salted,” he said. “Leave early because it may take longer than normal to get to work.”

If you’re caught out in the ice and freezing rain and find yourself unable to keep control, Gentry offered tips on avoiding a wreck.

“If your front wheels begin to slide, take your foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow. After a few seconds, if you still don’t have control of your vehicle, lightly press the brake,” he said. “To avoid skidding on ice, drive very slowly. If you start to slide, turn your front wheels in the same direction that the rear of the vehicle is sliding. ‘Turning into the slide’ is the phrase most people use when discussing this. These both mean the same thing. The most important thing is to drive slowly.”

Gentry also offered advice on items to keep in your vehicle if you must travel in these conditions.

“Extreme cold weather is something we don’t deal with much in Cullman, but I would keep the following items in my vehicle during this ice storm: portable phone charger/battery, several flashlights, blankets, extra cold-weather clothes, water and snacks,” he said. 

Gentry said the sheriff’s office will have extra patrols out during this inclement weather to assist residents when needed. He asked that residents follow one simple request: stay home if you don’t have to be out. 

“The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) will have deputies responding to calls/incidents during this ice storm. We ask that if you don’t have to travel, please stay at home. If you have an emergency, please call 911 and for all non-emergencies call 256-734-0342.”

There are a lot of those who must work regardless of the weather. Gentry said he is always reminded of the first responders, linemen and others in the community dedicated to service. 

“We are praying for our community, deputies, all the first responders, county workers, as well as the Cullman Electric Co-Op/Cullman Power Board linemen during this winter storm,” he said.

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