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Melting snow could cause dangerous road conditions
EAGLE RIVER - Melting snow came as a welcome sight this week, but hopes for clear roads vanished faster than the snow piles.

Despite the warmer weather, police saw more of a risk on the roads Wednesday morning.

"[Obstacles include] the rough road service, the potholes, the standing water, the ice, the snow on the roads, amongst the high snow banks," said Vilas Sheriff's Department Captain Gerard Ritter. "You really don't have time to be distracted as a driver."

Ritter has seen lots of careless driving in Vilas County since the new year started. Wednesday alone, there were four car crashes. Lincoln County doubled that with eight car crashes that morning too.

"Since January 1, we've had over 200 vehicle-involved crashes," said Ritter. "That could consist anywhere from vehicles going off the road to vehicle-versus-vehicle to vehicle-versus-deer."

One big cause for these dangerous road conditions is the winter weather, especially all the recent snow. But even though it's starting to melt, that can create a hazard itself. 

"With the rain that we're having, we're getting standing rain on the road services," said Ritter. "At night when it gets colder, that standing water could freeze which causes a road hazard."

The melting snow combined with the cold weather at night is creating dangerous icy patches on the roads. 

"Obviously with the frost that's going to be coming out of the ground, we're going to get bumpier road services," said Ritter.

Ritter wants people to remember that even though the roads seem to be clearing up, this time of the year still brings lots of forms of danger. 

"It's easier if you just slow down and put your phone on silent and don't text because those distractions combined with road hazards are more than likely what's causing these accidents," said Ritter.

Story By: Angela Kim

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