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Montana road conditions + winter weather driving safety (January 17, 2024)

Montana road conditions + winter weather driving safety (January 17, 2024)
Posted at 1:04 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 15:04:08-05

GREAT FALLS — With snow and ice covering most roads - and snow still falling in many areas - driving in Montana is hazardous today. There have been numerous slide-offs and minor crashes reported across the region.

Keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle is important - recommended items include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Ice scraper
  • Car cell phone charger
  • Blanket
  • Map
  • Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction)

The GFPD provides these winter driving safety tips:

  • Allow extra space between vehicles
  • 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.