The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) encourage motorists to plan ahead and drive safely or not at all during inclement weather.
Drivers are reminded to take the time to clean snow and ice completely from their vehicles, especially from windows to ensure clear visibility, and allow extra driving time to reach their destination at a slow, safe speed.
Missouri law states if windshield wipers are being used, headlights must also be turned on.
The patrol also reminds motorists to winterize their vehicles — have a mechanic check the battery, heater, defroster, lights, hoses, belts, brakes, oil, tires, wipers and fluid levels.
Before traveling, gather an ice scraper, tire chains, battery booster cables, blankets, flashlight and a bag of sand to place in the trunk.
Motorists should be prepared for the possibility of slick roads and decreased visibility. Remember that even light precipitation can cause roads to become slick with ice or snow.
While MoDOT works hard to treat and plow Missouri highways when winter weather hits, drivers should allow extra time for travel and to check road conditions before they head out.
Drivers can get Missouri’s road condition report by calling 1-800-222-6400 or 1-888-275-6636 for a list of road conditions throughout the state or by visiting MoDOT’s traveler information map at www.modot.org.
When inclement weather hits, the patrol suggests motorists adjust how they drive so that they 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.
According to MoDOT, drivers should slow down when driving on ice and snow, steer and brake gently, accelerate slowly at intersections and allow plenty of following distance between their vehicle and the one ahead of them. Motorists should increase their following distance as they drive to five seconds.
Stay back 100 feet behind snow plows that may be spreading salt and do not pass snow plows even when on a multi-lane road.
Additionally, motorists should be aware that bridges and overpasses generally experience freezing conditions first.
Motorists who become stranded or those who see another vehicle stranded on the side of the road with passengers should call the MSHP emergency number at 1-800-525-5555 or dial *55 on a cell phone. These numbers ring at the nearest troop headquarters.