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Travelers Urged to Drive with Caution
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For Immediate Release:  Thursday, February 23, 2012

Contact: Kristi Sandal, Public Information Officer, 605-773-7179 

Travelers Urged to Drive with Caution 

Pierre, S.D. – State officials are cautioning travelers in South Dakota that precipitation and blowing snow today, sometimes with limited visibility, are making roads slippery and creating dangerous driving conditions in several areas of the state. 

Weather and road conditions throughout the state are changing rapidly. Some areas have received heavy amounts of snowfall.  Strong winds are expected overnight and may continue to make travel conditions hazardous. Roads may become icy and drifting may occur, particularly in sheltered areas and at the ends of bridges. 

“Because the icy conditions and drifting are intermittent, motorists are approaching these areas at unsafe speeds and are consequently unable to control their vehicles,” said Greg Fuller, South Dakota Department of Transportation director of operations. 

Travelers are reminded that SDDOT crews will plow until early evening hours as conditions allow. After that, winter maintenance will be suspended and will resume about 5 a.m. tomorrow morning, weather permitting. 

People who must travel in affected areas of South Dakota are advised to slow down and drive with extreme caution. Officials also encourage motorists to visit http://www.safetraveulusa.com/sd or call 511 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out. 

If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.

  • Wear your seatbelt
  • Travel during the day
  • Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
  • Use highly traveled roads and highways
  • Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
  • Call 511 or visit safetravelusa.com for road conditions
  • Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car.  The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
  • Travel with a charged cell phone, but don’t rely on it to get you out of a bad situation

§    Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant 

If you do get stranded:

§    Stay in your vehicle

  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
  • When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
  • When it’s dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
  • Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers

 

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