MANKATO, Minn. – (10 a.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) warns motorists in south central that forecasted winds will result in significantly reduced visibility and that roads will likely remain in poor winter driving conditions throughout the day and into tomorrow.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Blizzard Warning for all of southcentral Minnesota. Strong winds and whiteout conditions are likely, especially in open areas. The NWS reports that blizzard conditions exist when the combination of strong wind, low visibility and heavy snowfall significantly impact daily life. The forecast can change throughout the day and that conditions can improve or worsen.
“Our snowplow crews are working to improve travel conditions,” said Chase Fester, maintenance operations superintendent. “We need motorists to do their part, keep a safe distance from the plow trucks and reduce all distractions and concentrate on driving.”
A plow’s sole purpose is to make the roads as clear and passable as quickly as possible. Plow operators have much to monitor and control while on duty, and their ability to see behind them is limited. They travel more slowly than the posted speeds as it is more effective for clearing snow. Their vision can be hampered by the snow clouds they create while plowing,
MnDOT advises motorists to check road conditions before traveling. For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.
Motorists can practice good winter driving habits by following these steps:
1. Allow extra time to get to your destination.
2. Turn your headlights on (not simply the automatic setting) and wear your seatbelt.
3. Be patient behind the wheel and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions.
4. Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind a plow, far from the snow cloud.
5. Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. Anticipate that plows may also travel over centerlines or partially into traffic to further improve road conditions.
6. Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
7. No texting, emailing, or internet while driving – it’s the law.
For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.