Deadly Monday on roads prompts safe winter travel reminder
ST. PAUL — Four fatal crashes on snowy and slippery Minnesota roads Monday are a reminder that motorists need to plan ahead and adjust their driving to the weather, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
The fatal crashes occurred in Stearns, Big Stone, Aitkin and Sherburne counties.
“These crashes are tragic reminders that we need to be especially cautious when driving during winter weather,” said Lt. Eric Roeske, Minnesota State Patrol. “With more winter weather on the way, we need everyone to drive at safe speeds and provide for plenty of travel time as road conditions can change in an instant.”
In 2012, there were 5,688 crashes on snow- and ice-covered roads in Minnesota. Those crashes resulted in 28 deaths and 3,109 injuries.
Safe Winter Driving Tips
- Avoid unnecessary travel if conditions are too poor.
- Buckle up, and make sure child restraints are secured. It is recommended not to use bulky clothing when securing a child in a restraint. Use blankets on top of the child restraint harness, not beneath.
- Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions and provide for plenty of travel time.
- Increase safe stopping distance between vehicles.
- If skidding, remain calm, ease foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
- Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.
- Headlights must be turned on when it is snowing or sleeting.
- Do not use cruise control on snowy/icy/wet roads.
- Use extra precautions when driving around snowplows by keeping at least five car-lengths behind plows.
Motorists also are reminded that as temperatures drop, ice may form and create slippery spots. Bridges also may become slippery.
DPS’ Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management urges motorists to create a winter weather emergency kit for their vehicle in case they become stranded. The kit should include:
- Coffee can and small candles and matches to use to melt snow for drinking water.
-- Brightly colored bandana or cloth to hang from the vehicle window to signal help is needed.
- Large plastic garbage bags to tie around feet to keep them warm.
- Safety pins to secure the garbage bags.
- Whistle to alert authorities.
- Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter.
- Plastic flashlight and spare batteries.
- Extra hats, mittens, boots and blankets.
Motorists who are stranded should remain in their vehicle and call 911 for help.
For more winter weather tips, visit https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/hsem/weather-awareness-preparedness/Pages/w....
MnDOT’s 511 travel information service provides road and winter driving conditions for the entire state and links to official weather information from the National Weather Service. 511 is available online at www.511mn.org and by dialing 5-1-1.