GREAT FALLS — With snow and ice covering many roads - and more snow on the way - driving in many parts of Montana is very treacherous today. There have been numerous slide-offs and minor crashes reported across the region.
The Teton County Sheriff's Office posted at 7:20 a.m.: "Emergency travel only! HWY 89 from Choteau to Fairfield is CLOSED."
North Star School (between Chester and Havre) said in an email: "North Star School will be closed today, February 21 due to weather and road conditions. No school, no extra-curricular activities, no practices. We do not know at this time if will need to make this day up."
The GFPD provides these winter driving safety tips:
- Allowing extra space
- Do not cut drivers off
- Do not pull out in front of drivers
- Do not force drivers to slam on brakes or stop
- Clear all your windows
- Allow extra travel time
- Allow extra braking time/space
- Do not pass a snowplow unless necessary
Check the Montana Department of Transportation website before you hit the road to find out which roads are snow-covered, which ones have ice and/or slush, and if any roads are closed.
MDT provides the following safety information:
- Allow extra time to get to your destination.
- Clean off your car. Keep windows, mirrors and lights clear of snow and ice.
- Turn off cruise control.
- Always buckle up.
- Slow down in poor visibility conditions.
- Maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles.
- Expect ice on bridges and in shady spots.
- Don't pass snowplows unless it's absolutely necessary.
- Prepare your vehicle for winter driving at the start of the season.
- Check to be sure all four tires are in good condition.
- Don't wait until the last minute to get snow tires mounted.
- Keep an emergency travel kit in your car.
Safety Around Snow Plows: Our snowplows are on the road for your safety. When you encounter a snowplow, remember:
- Don’t crowd the plow.
- Plow drivers have limited visibility so don’t assume your vehicle is in view.
- Maintain a safe distance behind the snowplow.
- Plows aren't just removing snow. They may also be spreading sand or deicer on the road.
- Be patient—never pass through a white out.
- The driver will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow vehicles to pass.
- Slow down.
Plows are large and move slower than highway speeds. It is difficult to judge distance when approaching the plow so slow down immediately to avoid a collision.