The Highway Patrol says temperatures at or just below freezing in many areas of the state is causing ice to form on roads and bridges.
Capt. Tim Hull says the weather is to blame for three highway deaths already today.
One person has been killed in Camden Co., the other in Clay Co., both were single-car accidents where their vehicles slid off the roads. Another accident was on Highway 54 between Jefferson City and Holts Summit in Callaway Co. No other details are being released at this time.
Hull says if you see someone slide off the road, don’t stop to help. Call 911, or dial *55 from your cell to reach the nearest highway patrol troop, and ask for help.
Likewise, Hull says if you slide off the road, remain in your vehicle. There have been several incidents in Missouri and beyond where people who get out of their vehicle have been hit by other motorists.
Hull recalled when a state trooper was struck while helping a stranded motorists, and was killed, on Christmas Day. He says troopers, though, have the benefit of flashing lights and highly reflective jackets for increased visibility.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol encourages motorists to plan ahead and drive safely or not at all during inclement weather.
- Check the battery, heater, defroster, lights, hoses, belts, brakes, oil, tires, wipers, and fluid levels. Before you travel, gather an ice scraper, tire chains, battery booster cables, blankets, flashlight, and a bag of sand or kitty litter to place in your trunk. 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 can also view MoDOT’s Road Condition Map … click HERE.
- Drivers: Take the time to clean snow and ice completely from your vehicle. Make sure the windows are completely cleared to ensure visibility. 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.
- Keep in mind that Section 307.020 RSMo. states lighted lamps are required “from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise and at any other time when there is not sufficient light to render clearly discernible persons and vehicles on the highway at a distance of 500 feet ahead.”
- When inclement weather hits, please adjust how you drive, so that you continue to “exercise the highest degree of care.” For instance: Stopping quickly in the winter on snow-covered or icy roads is next to impossible. Use care by increasing your following distance as you drive. Section 304.012 RSMo. directs motorists to exercise the highest degree of care on Missouri’s roadways. This part of Missouri law states, “Every person operating a motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care.”
- Ask yourself if the speed you’re traveling is safe for the weather conditions. Slow down when driving in snow or on ice. Driving the speed limit may not be “exercising the highest degree of care” during inclement weather; driving over the speed limit never is.
- The Missouri State Highway Patrol is here to serve and protect. If you become stranded or see another vehicle stranded on the side of the road with passengers, 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. 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. Click It 4 Life!