SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, urges motorists to be aware that rain, freezing rain, ice pellets, and some snow are all part of the weather forecast for the next several days.
Last week’s snow and ice resulted in 10 weather-related traffic fatalities in approximately 24 hours. The Missouri State Highway Patrol encourages motorists to eliminate nonessential travel. Postponing travel until road crews have had time to treat road surfaces is also a good option.
“If you decide to travel in inclement weather, plan ahead and drive safely,” Replogle says in a press release.
“Rain, freezing rain, ice, and snow are road hazards,” he says. “When the temperature is near freezing, the roadway may look wet when in fact ice is forming. That transition is very dangerous. Slow down. Don’t attempt to pass slower vehicles, especially MoDOT trucks treating the roads. Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. When roads are icy, your vehicle doesn’t have the traction required to stop quickly. Gently apply your brakes or accelerator. Be patient and courteous. Driving in adverse weather conditions can be stressful. Stay alert, and if needed, stop and take a break from driving every hour or so.”
The patrol also asks motorists to take the time to clean snow and ice completely from your vehicle; allow extra driving time for you to reach your destination at a slow, safe speed; and 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,” the patrol says. “That second could make you more visible to other drivers and prevent a traffic crash.”
Emergencies cannot be predicted, but planning ahead can help you if one should arise. Missouri’s Road Condition Report (1-888-275-6636) can help you plan your route–before you leave. You may also view MoDOT’s Road Condition Map by going to the Patrol’s web site www.mshp.dps.mo.gov and clicking on the Road Condition icon, or by going to www.modot.org.
If you need emergency assistance or see someone who needs emergency assistance, please call the Missouri State Highway Patrol emergency number at 1-800-525-5555 or dial *55 on a cellular phone. These numbers ring at the nearest troop headquarters.
“Planning ahead and being a courteous driver are important every day,” Reploge says. “In winter driving conditions, this becomes crucial. Please slow down, pay attention, and wear your seat belt. Of course, no matter how safely you drive, you can’t control other drivers. Thus, the Patrol encourages motorists to protect themselves from all types of hazardous drivers by making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint.”