|For an inside look at the life of IRT, follow #goIRT as @wsdot_traffic live tweets from the road between 6 to 10 a.m. Friday, April 18.|
We’ve been known to refer to our Incident Response Team as “our super heroes.” It’s easy to see why. Whether it’s a flat tire, a major collision or a mattress in the middle of the freeway, our IRT workers always seem to be ready to help get things cleared and traffic moving again.
I recently had a chance to spend some time with IRT member John Perez and he insists they aren’t super heroes. They’re out there because they want to help people, he said, and they appreciate that most people are happy to see them arrive on the scene.
is always ready to push a disabled vehicle off|
the highway and get traffic moving.
I also get to field and send on Twitter comments from motorists, like “I’m sure IRT has that cleared up by now. Great Seattle resource, they are awesome,” and “The IRT folks are indeed super heroes.”
|IRT heads towards a car fire to help keep traffic safely away.|
John, who handles incident response primarily on State Route 520, said drivers should stay in their car and stay strapped in until help arrives, because it’s going to be safer inside the vehicle. Be sure to call 911 just to be sure help is on the way.
One of the main challenges of responding to a blocking situation is that traffic around the stall or collision often doesn’t slow down. So…slow down and give our team a chance to work. If you want lanes to reopen, give IRT space and let them do their job so they can get traffic back moving again.
has to handle many jobs, including picking|
up someone’s lost laundry.
Sometimes a car is stuck and needs a push. John said there are times when a driver does not want an IRT truck to push the car to the side for fear of damage, but that shouldn’t be a worry. Our IRT trucks have a layer of Teflon on the front that they use to push a car to the shoulder or gore point. The most damage is likely to be a black smudge that can be wiped off. Trust our IRT, listen to their instructions, put the car in neutral (don’t hit the brakes!) and you and your car will be fine.
|Who does the Army call when it needs help? Mighty IRT!|
Collisions and stalls happen on our highways. There’s no real way around it. But we’re lucky to have our outstanding IRT ready to go when trouble calls. Follow their tips and give them some space, and they can help keep our highways moving as smoothly as possible. Oh, and don’t forget to add a “Thank you.” Even super heroes appreciate that.