The first snow of the season is expected in the northern half of Missouri beginning tonight and continuing into Friday. From a dusting to five inches is expected and will affect driving conditions. The Missouri State Highway Patrol urges everyone to pay attention to the weather and plan ahead. Motorists are encouraged to check the road conditions before driving to help determine if the trip can be completed safely. Consulting Missouri’s Road Condition Report (1-888-275-6636) or MoDOT’s Road Condition Map at http://traveler.modot.org/map/ can provide the most current road condition information available. Avoiding travel may be the safest decision.
It is next to impossible to stop quickly on snow-covered or icy roads. Drivers should compensate for these slippery conditions by increasing their following distance when driving. Decrease your vehicle’s speed when driving in snow or on ice. Driving the speed limit is not “exercising the highest degree of care” during inclement weather. Missouri law (Section 304.012 RSMo.) states the responsibility of exercising the highest degree of care while driving rests on the driver’s shoulders.
If you do need to travel in inclement weather, the Missouri State Highway Patrol suggests keeping your fuel tank at least half full. Having an ice scraper, tire chains, battery booster cables, blankets, extra coats, gloves, water, non-perishable food, flashlight, and a bag of sand or cat litter in your trunk can help in an emergency.
Before you travel, make sure your cell phone is fully charged and keep it with you. Do not use your cell phone when you are driving; park your vehicle well off the roadway or in a parking lot before placing a call. The Missouri State Highway Patrol emergency number is 1-800-525-5555 (or *55 on a cellular phone). These numbers ring at the nearest troop headquarters. We’re here to help.
If you decide it’s necessary to drive in inclement weather, take the time to make sure your vehicle’s windows are completely cleared to ensure visibility. Clear your driveway so your vehicle can enter and exit the roadway more safely. Allow extra driving time for you to reach your destination at a slow, safe speed. Remember: Missouri law states if you’re using your windshield wipers, your headlights must be turned on. It takes only a second to turn on your vehicle’s headlights. That second could make you more visible to other drivers and prevent a traffic crash.
If you are involved in a crash or slide off the roadway, stay inside your vehicle with your seat belt on. During inclement weather, multiple vehicles often crash or slide off the roadway at the same location. If you are walking around your vehicle, the chances of being injured or killed is much greater. The safest course of action is to contact law enforcement by cell phone and remain inside your vehicle. If there are no injuries in the crash, the vehicles should be moved off the roadway to a safer location while waiting for law enforcement to arrive.
Winter weather affects driving conditions and traffic patterns. Please remember to buckle up, pay attention, be courteous, and obey all traffic laws. Remember: When weather conditions make driving hazardous, drive only when necessary.