The chief of the Maine State Police has two words for drivers during inclement winter weather — slow down.

Of the 13 highway deaths in the state since Christmas, 11 were caused by drivers operating too fast for conditions, Col. Robert Williams, chief of the state police, said Friday.

Williams said in a press release that a rash of slide-off crashes Friday on the Maine Turnpike during light snow illustrates that many Maine drivers have not yet adapted to winter driving conditions.

Williams said winter driving conditions can change rapidly on slick roads caused by snow, freezing rain and black ice and motorists need to adjust their speeds accordingly.

“Maine winter weather can change roads conditions in seconds and motorists need to be prepared to slow down to confront those driving challenges,” he said.

“Taking your foot off the accelerator may be safest way for drivers to get to their destinations without getting into trouble.”

Williams said motorists statewide should make sure that their vehicle is equipped with proper tires, windshield wipers, a shovel, a scraper, sand, extra clothing and a flashlight to counter any winter driving situation.

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