As farmers begin the process of burning off their fields, Sheriff Mike Tubbs cautions drivers to be aware of these areas, as large amounts of smoke as well as dust can minimize visibility.
"The smoke from these fires can sometimes be very thick, causing bad driving conditions," Tubbs said. "A lot of times, drivers will slow down due to poor visibility and accidents then occur because of other drivers not paying attention."
One such crash happened in West Carroll Parish over the weekend. Troopers with the Louisiana State Police, Troop F worked the crash in which the driver of a Chrysler 200 encountered a large cloud of smoke on La. 585 and slowed her vehicle down. A second vehicle failed to slow down and rear ended the slower driver, causing a wreck, sending both the driver and passenger of the Chrysler to a regional hospital with severe injuries. The other driver was ticketed with careless operation.
"When visibility is low due to smoke or dust or natural causes such as rain, sleet and snow, slow down and make sure of your surroundings," Tubbs said. "You have to be aware of other drivers as well as the conditions."
According to DMV.org, the most common mistake motorists make is not leaving enough of a cushion between themselves and motorists in front of them. It is advised that drivers should consider the distance between them and the car in front of them, making sure there is enough room to slam on the breaks if needed. If the driver behind you doesn't leave the proper distance between their front bumper and your rear end, don't respond by hitting the brakes. Simply maintain your speed. If you leave enough room in front of you, there will be space for the driver to pass.