The photographs and videos shown on TV Thursday of a mass traffic crash in Fort Worth are breathtakingly horrific, and the knowledge that several lives were lost in the carnage should give everyone in this area pause.
Texans have never been great at driving on icy roads, and neither are Okies. That's why local law enforcement officials were pleading with everyone to stay home. The risk of sustaining serious injury, totaling a vehicle or dying are perhaps greater under these conditions than contracting COVID-19. Sometimes, seat belts aren't enough.
And that's not all. Too many area residents drive vehicles that aren't dependable in the best of times. Single-digit temperatures such as those in the forecast for Cherokee County over the weekend - and in the negative on Monday! - wreak havoc with vehicles. Imagine sliding off a rural road in a vehicle with a faulty engine that won't restart while the occupants are waiting for help to arrive. That situation could bring about another type of casualty most Oklahomans never think about: freezing to death.
Many area residents felt COVID-19 should have brought business to a standstill in this area, for an indeterminate amount of time. We at the Daily Press never agreed with that unrealistic notion; using caution, it is possible to move forward in relative safety without destroying the economy. We do agree, however, that risking one's life to slip-slide away on ice-covered roads for a bottle of liquor, a pack of cigarettes, or even a gallon of milk is folly.
For the next few days, area residents who don't have to be on the highways and roads should avoid them. Chances are good most of us aren't seasoned inclement weather drivers, and we shouldn't pretend to be. Can you work from home? Do it. Can a group of people get together and have the best driver among them venture out to pick up dire necessities? That's a good plan.
If you must drive somewhere, take along some blankets and water, and maybe a few protein bars. And take it slow - real slow. We don't want to lose any more members of our community to the hazards of foul weather.