Extreme winter weather conditions across Christian County provided the right time for emergency responders and transportation officials to put out words of warning to all those who take to the roads and highways.
The first tip, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation, is to avoid all unnecessary travel if at all possible. If you’re able to stay at home and stay off the roads, do it.
MoDOT crews worked in continuous 12-hour shifts as snow began to fall and all of southwest Missouri fell under a winter storm warning. Bitterly cold temperatures can often delay the time it takes to clear highways.
“Chemicals used to treat the roads start to lose their effectiveness below 25 degrees,” a statement from MoDOT spokesman Martin Schwartz said. “Once conditions improve, motorists should give snowplows 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.”
Emergency responders advise all drivers to have an emergency kit full of survival items in their vehicle during winter months. This kit should include gloves, blanket(s), nonperishable food and bottled water, a windshield ice scraper, jumper cables, tire chains or road salt, batteries and chargers for essential devices and a flashlight.
Police and the Highway Patrol urge drivers and passengers to dress appropriately for the weather conditions, regardless of whether or not you plan to get our of the vehicle.
Travelers can stay informed about Missouri road conditions by using MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map, available online at http://www.modot.org, or through MoDOT’s smartphone app, available for iPhone and Android phones. The map offers current views of road conditions for Missouri interstates and highways. You can zoom in to a particular location, check live weather radar, and view images from MoDOT’s traffic cameras and message boards.
MoDOT also provides road condition information through its Customer Service Center. Dial 888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636) to speak with a customer service representative 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.