Mon. Feb 26th, 2024
Emergency management officials from around the lake area are cautioning, if you must hit the road over the next couple of days, to be ready for the possibility of becoming stranded in your vehicle…
“You want to make sure that you have an extra warm blanket, in case you break down and you’re stuck on the side of the road…that way you can stay under it until help arrives. In case there is ICE or SNOW….you’ll want something like kitty litter or ice melt, so that you can get some traction in the case of a slide-off. You’ll want to have a shovel, a first-aid kit, your medications….anything you may need in case you get stuck and have to wait until someone can come help you while being stuck in the bitter cold.”
Camden County EMA Director Samantha Henley goes on to say it’s also a good idea to keep your cell phone fully charged should you become stuck and need help.
A full list of suggested items to keep in your vehicles for bad weather this time of year can be found on the EMA’s website.
Missouri’s weather forecast is expected to make traveling more hazardous this holiday weekend. The National Weather Service has indicated snow will reach Northwest Missouri Wednesday night and move across the state throughout the day Thursday. This winter weather will bring high winds and bitterly cold temperatures. Blowing and drifting snow, along with the potential for whiteout conditions, will make driving dangerous. The sub-zero wind chill could be life-threatening if a motorist becomes stranded.
Troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol urge everyone to pay attention to weather conditions and make smart decisions regarding travel. If conditions dictate, avoid driving on Missouri’s roadways. If you must drive, be sure to increase your following distance, as stopping quickly on wet, snowy, or icy roads can be hazardous or impossible. Leaving five seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of you is always a smart idea, especially in inclement weather. During inclement weather, driving the speed limit is not “exercising the highest degree of care.” Missouri law (Section 304.012 RSMo) states the responsibility of exercising the highest degree of care while driving rests on the driver’s shoulders. Please adjust your speed to the weather and avoid using cruise control. Allow extra driving time for you to reach your destination at a slow, safe speed.
In the cold months of 2021 (January, February, March, November, and December) there were 25 people killed and 1,995 people injured in a total of 7,392 crashes with weather conditions of snow, sleet/hail, or freezing.
If you must travel, make sure your vehicle is completely clean of snow and use your headlights to increase visibility. Drivers should watch for slick areas of the roadways as the rain, snow, and extremely cold temperatures have the potential to freeze quickly. Remember: Missouri law states if you’re using your windshield wipers, your headlights must be turned on.
Troopers suggest keeping your fuel tank at least half full and placing an ice scraper, battery booster cables, blankets, extra coats, gloves, water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, flashlight, small shovel, and a bag of sand or cat litter in your trunk. 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. 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. Troopers are available to assist you.
Motorists are encouraged to check road conditions before driving to help determine if the trip can be completed safely. The MoDOT Traveler Information Map app can be downloaded free-of-charge to your smart devices.
Please remember to buckle up, pay attention, be courteous, and obey all traffic laws. When weather conditions make driving hazardous, drive only when absolutely necessary.
Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, “If I could just go back …”
Follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter @MSHPTrooperGHQ