NewsMontana and Regional News


Montana road conditions + winter driving safety (February 21, 2023)

Montana road conditions + winter driving safety (February 21, 2023)
Posted at 8:08 AM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 10:10:43-05

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:

  1. Allow extra time to get to your destination.
  2. Clean off your car. Keep windows, mirrors and lights clear of snow and ice.
  3. Turn off cruise control.
  4. Always buckle up.
  5. Slow down in poor visibility conditions.
  6. Maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles.
  7. Expect ice on bridges and in shady spots.
  8. Don't pass snowplows unless it's absolutely necessary.
  9. Prepare your vehicle for winter driving at the start of the season.
  10. Check to be sure all four tires are in good condition.
  11. Don't wait until the last minute to get snow tires mounted.
  12. 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.