Holiday travelers may encounter hazardous driving conditions
JEFFERSON CITY – Holiday travel could be a bit more challenging this year due to a winter storm that will move across the state Wednesday night and Thursday and leave bitterly cold temperatures in its wake. The Missouri Department of Transportation urges all drivers to be aware of changing road conditions both where they are and where they are going.
According to the National Weather Service, snow will begin moving into northwest Missouri Wednesday night and move across the state throughout the day Thursday. High winds and bitterly cold temperatures are also anticipated. Blowing and drifting snow as well as possible whiteout conditions will make driving dangerous, and sub-zero wind chills can be life-threatening if motorists become stranded. In some parts of Missouri, precipitation could start as rain and quickly turn to snow with potential flash freezing of roadways.
“Cleanup, particularly during overnight hours, could take longer than usual after the snow ends because the chemicals used to treat the roads lose their effectiveness in bitterly cold temperatures,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT’s chief safety and operations officer. “Snowfall totals are manageable, but high winds and bitterly cold temperatures will make clearing the roads difficult. Motorists should take extra preparations before you take to the road.”
If you need to travel, make sure you have a full tank of gas, blankets, gloves and provisions like water and snacks in the event of an emergency. Make sure your cellphone is fully charged, but never use it while driving. If you should slide off the road, or are involved in a crash, stay inside your vehicle with your seat belt buckled until help arrives.
“This is expected to be a dry snow which can create blizzard-like whiteout conditions around our snowplows,” Allmeroth said. “Many snowplow operators are new, and this will be their first winter event. If you encounter a snowplow or salt trucks on the road, always give them room to work. Do not tailgate or try to pass. Remember that a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.”
Check current Missouri road conditions on the Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org, or through MoDOT’s smartphone app, available for iPhone and Android phones. You can also find road conditions and warnings by following MoDOT on Facebook and Twitter or by calling 888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636) to speak with a customer service representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.