Missouri’s weather forecast changes regularly, especially when winter is approaching.
This time of year, Missourians might experience sunshine, rain, hail, sleet, ice, or snow.
Winter weather will affect driving conditions and traffic patterns.
Section 304.012 RSMo. directs motorists to exercise the highest degree of care while driving on Missouri’s roadways.
This part of Missouri law states, “Every person operating a motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care.”
When inclement weather hits, please adjust how you drive, so that you continue to “exercise the highest degree of care.”
For instance: Stopping quickly in the winter on snow-covered or icy roads is next to impossible.
Use care by increasing your following distance as you drive.
Ask yourself if the speed you’re traveling is safe for the weather conditions.
Slow down when driving in snow or on ice.
Driving the speed limit may not be “exercising the highest degree of care” during inclement weather; driving over the speed limit never is.
Before you travel, make certain your vehicle is in good working condition.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol suggests keeping your fuel tank at least half full.
Place an ice scraper, tire chains, battery booster cables, blankets, extra coats, gloves, water, non-perishable food, flashlight, and a bag of sand or cat litter in your trunk.
Emergencies cannot be predicted, but planning ahead can help you if one should arise.
Missouri’s Road Condition Report (1-888-275-6636) can help you plan your route–before you leave.
You may also view MoDOT’s Road Condition Map by going to the Patrol’s website www.mshp.dps.mo.gov and clicking on the Road Condition icon.
When roads become slick from ice and snow the Patrol encourages motorists to refrain from driving unless absolutely necessary.
Take the time to make sure the windows are completely cleared to ensure visibility.
Clear your driveway so that your vehicle enters the roadway safely.
Allow extra driving time for you to reach your destination at a slow, safe speed.
Remember: Missouri law states if you’re using your windshield wipers, your headlights must be turned on.
It takes only a second to turn on your vehicle’s headlights.
That second could make you more visible to other drivers and prevent a traffic crash.
If you have a cell phone, make sure it’s fully charged and with you when you travel.
Please do not use your cell phone when you are driving; park your vehicle before placing a call.
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.
Be sure to check weather forecasts often and adjust your driving style to ensure you arrive at your destination safe and sound.
Planning ahead and being a courteous driver are important every day.
In winter driving conditions, this becomes crucial.
Please slow down, pay attention, and wear your seat belt.
Approximately 63 percent of Missouri fatal crash victims who are required to be restrained are NOT at the time of the traffic crash.
The Patrol urges motorists to protect themselves and their passengers by making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint.
Watercraft operators should ensure that everyone in the vessel is wearing an approved life jacket.[This article was provided by Cheryl D. Cobb, Public Information Specialist III for the Public Information and Education Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.]