Ice and sleet make driving tough; cops say slow down, remain cautious after two traffic deaths across state
WILLMAR -- A combination of freezing rain, sleet and snow made driving in west central Minnesota difficult Tuesday morning. However, as of 2 p.m., only two crashes were reported by the Willmar Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's ...
WILLMAR -- A combination of freezing rain, sleet and snow made driving in west central Minnesota difficult Tuesday morning. However, as of 2 p.m., only two crashes were reported by the Willmar Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's office.
According to incident reports, the only city crash occurred at about 8 a.m. near Willmar Senior High School. Neither driver was injured. A hit-and-run accident was reported along Central Avenue in New London.
"It's that time of year. Drivers need to slow down and drive cautiously," said Willmar Police Sgt. Vince King. Folks are also urged to leave an appropriate amount of space between their vehicle and the car in front of them, as following too closely leaves little or no time to react to actions by that vehicle, he said.
Drivers are also urged to use caution when driving over bridge decks, overpasses and ramps, as the elevated surfaces can ice over quickly in bad weather conditions.
According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, road conditions in the area were fair or good as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.
This week is Winter Hazard Awareness Week, sponsored each year by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
According to department statistics from 2005 through 2007, there were nearly 41,000 crashes, 159 traffic deaths and more than 13,000 injuries on snowy or icy road conditions in the state.
The DPS also stresses motorists drive at safe speeds and keep a safe stopping distance between vehicles. Extra caution should be used around snowplows working to clear roads. One of two fatalities reported in Minnesota on Tuesday was William R. Pete, a 17-year-old from LeCenter, whose vehicle slid into an oncoming snow plow around 8:30 a.m. along a LeSueur County Road. Another fatal crash was reported along I-35 in Burnsville. The State Patrol had not released the name of the 40-year-old Lakeville resident killed, pending notification of relatives.