ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Winter weather could be the cause of an increase of accidents during this snowy season in Missouri. The Missouri Highway Patrol says although drivers have a lot of experience on the roads, they are still horrible at driving in the snow. And despite telling drivers to stay off of the roads, troopers are still responding to dozens of calls.
In the St. Louis area, Trooper Juston Wheetley, believes drivers are getting over confident, resulting in more accidents each time it snows.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri troopers investigated approximately 1,054 traffic crashes over those two days.
Wheetley says in the St. Louis area, 400 calls came in regarding traffic accidents; only 14 of those were reported as injuries. The state department reports there were two fatalities in the Springfield area.
“It’s a lot more than what we normally see. On a typical day, maybe a third of that if even that amount,” says Wheetley.
Also last week, the department answered 3,045 calls in Missouri for assistance which included: vehicles breaking down, sliding off the highway, or vehicles that were left stranded on the side of the road according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
“It is dangerously cold outside, and winter isn’t finished with Missouri quite yet. On those days where snow or ice, make travel treacherous, I strongly encourage you to stay home if at all possible,” says Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Replogle.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol encourages drivers to stay at home, but if they must travel during these conditions, there are the following things to keep in mind:
- Make sure your vehicle is in good condition.
- Include emergency items in your vehicle when traveling. Gather an ice scraper, tire chains, battery booster cables, flares/reflectors, blankets, gloves, flashlight, and a bag of sand or kitty litter to place in your trunk.
- Ensure your cellular phone is fully charged and functional.
- Take bottled water and a snack with you. Emergencies cannot be predicted.
- Keep your fuel tank half full or higher.
- Decrease your speed.
- Increase your following distance by several car lengths.
- Allow extra driving time for you to reach your destination at a slow, safe speed.
- Missouri law states if you’re using your windshield wipers, your headlights must be turned on.
- If your vehicle slides off the road, stay with it.