JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Major winter weather is forecast for much of the state beginning overnight Tuesday and continuing through the end of the week. The Missouri Department of Transportation urges people to stay off the roads if at all possible during the periods of ice and snow. If you must travel this week, use extra caution, anticipate slower travel times and consult the Traveler Information Map for road conditions.
“This is a potentially severe winter storm that will play out over several days and dump a mixed bag of freezing precipitation on most of the state,” said MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. “Up to 12 inches or more of snow has been forecast for portions of Missouri and other areas may receive freezing rain, ice and sleet in advance of the snowfall.”
All available crews will be out across the state working 12-hour shifts throughout the day and night, but staffing is still short across the state due to turnover and sickness. “It may take crews longer to return roads to a mostly clear status after the storm ends later this week,” McKenna said.
Rain is forecast to precede the winter event, making it difficult to treat roads ahead of the storm. To make matters worse, bitter temperatures following the snow and ice will limit the effectiveness of chemicals used to clear covered roads.
“This winter storm has the potential to create extremely hazardous driving conditions for most of the state,” said McKenna. “We urge all drivers to plan to get to their destinations ahead of the storm and be prepared to stay there. If you can, stay home and give us room to work. Remember, every stranded car slows down the snowplow’s ability to clear the roads and prevents emergency vehicles from reaching their destinations.”
Should you be involved in a minor crash or slide off the road, remain in your vehicle with the seat belt buckled. Equip your vehicle with a winter weather emergency kit before you travel in winter weather. Include any necessary medications, a phone charger, a blanket, bottled water, nonperishable foods and a flashlight.
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.
Driving on snowy or icy roads requires special attention to safety. Although it’s impossible to have ideal road conditions 365 days a year, there are certain precautions you can take to make winter driving safer. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get ready for the hazards of winter.
Before the Trip:
Winterize your car with fresh antifreeze, a good battery, a properly operating exhaust system and oil that will withstand the rigors of cold weather.
Do a thorough pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, paying special attention to your tires, brakes, windshield wipers and windshield wiper fluid.
Equip Your Vehicle With:
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- A first-aid kit
- Necessary medications
- Blankets and/or sleeping bags
- Extra mittens or gloves, socks, a warm cap and rain gear
- A small sack of sand to use for traction under your wheels
- A small shovel
- Booster cables
- Small tools – pliers, wrench, screwdriver
- A brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
- Nonperishable foods
- Bottled water
During the Trip:
- If possible, postpone your travel until roads have been plowed, treated, and cleared. You don’t want to slide off the road, and we don’t want to plow around disabled vehicles.
- Slow down and adjust your speed to the conditions.
- Give snowplows plenty of room, and don’t pass them.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Remember that driving is most dangerous when temperatures are near 32 degrees.
- Watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions.
- Keep mirrors, windows and lights clean; keep your lights on.
- Don’t pass other vehicles on or near bridges.
- Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
- If you don’t feel comfortable driving, pull off of the highway and park at the first safe place.
If You’re Trapped in Your Car:
- Stay in the vehicle. Don’t leave to search for help. It’s easy to become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.
- Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the antenna.
- Run the engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater and turn on the dome light only when the vehicle is running.
- Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a window slightly for ventilation.
- Clap hands and move your arms and legs occasionally. Don’t stay in one position for too long.
- If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
- Huddle together for warmth.
- Use newspapers, maps and even car mats for added insulation.