Useful reminders to stay safe on slick roads

Local News

Every year, 24% of weather-related car crashes happen on snowy, slushy, or icy pavements according to the Federal Highway Administration.

As North Dakota experiences its first winter weather event of the season, it’s important to know how to safely get to and from your destinations.

One Minot resident says he feels comfortable driving on snowy roads, but sometimes he worries about other drivers.

“We get a lot of people that maybe it’s their first time seeing snow and stuff like that,” said Eric Johnson. “And so yeah, there’s always accidents around town, especially when it’s the first snow of the year.”

Law enforcement in Minot and Ward County responded to 41 car crashes Thursday, including 10 in which people were injured.

Aaron Moss, the Minot Police Department’s Community Outreach Officer, says that when weather events happen, they can lead to people thinking they can drive as they normally would.

“Anytime that there’s a sudden change in the weather, like this wintery weather, sometimes people tend to overestimate their abilities and don’t slow down and take the time they need to navigate through slicker roads,” he said.

He says it’s best to stay at home in inclement weather, but if you must travel, be cautious of those around you.

“It’s always a good idea just to minimize the traveling when weather conditions like this pop up,” Moss added. “If it’s absolutely unavoidable, give yourself plenty of extra time, drive slower, give yourself extra braking distance. Just common sense out on the roads when conditions aren’t ideal.”

Johnson took some extra safety measures, including driving slowly, to make sure he would get to his destination safely.

“Today I left probably about a half-hour earlier than I needed to just to be extra, extra safe,” he said. “Don’t rush.”

He also has some tips for people who might not be used to driving in wintery conditions.

“Rear-wheel drive cars do not do well,” Johnson said. “If that happens to be your vehicle, you might consider finding something else to drive on the really bad days or even call a cab. I’m sure they would be happy to get you somewhere safe.”

Officer Moss says finding alternative ways to get around can reduce headaches and crashes for everyone.

“Carpooling, using public transportation to the extent possible, ride-sharing is always a good way to reduce the numbers of folks on the road and the miles driven therefore reducing the likelihood of getting into crashes,” said Moss.

Moss wants the public to know that the winter driving conditions are unpredictable so everyone should slow down, take their time and be safe.

If you must go out and there is a great deal of snow, be sure that your exhaust pipe is not clogged.

A blocked tailpipe could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

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