JEFFERSON CITY - With an increased number of travelers taking to the road for the holidays and the likelihood of a winter storm hitting the state late today and Friday, the Missouri Department of Transportation is urging motorists to monitor road conditions before heading out or, better yet, stay put if possible.
MoDOT is keeping a close eye on the forecast and will send crews out to check road conditions before the bad weather hits. When the ice and snow start coming down, crews will be dispatched to treat and plow roads.
"We'll be out on the roads in full force at the first sign of any winter precipitation, and we'll work around the clock if we need to," said Don Hillis, MoDOT's director of System Management.
Bridges and overpasses generally experience freezing conditions first. Drivers should use caution, pay extra attention and remember the following tips when driving in inclement weather:
•· Slow down.
•· Always wear your seat belt.
•· Turn your headlights on. They help you see and help other drivers see you.
•· Double the distance you normally leave between you and the next car.
•· Use gentle pressure on your accelerator pedal when starting on wet or slick surfaces.
•· Give snowplows plenty of room, and try not to pass them when conditions are poor.
•· Watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions.
•· If you get stuck, stay in your vehicle.
•· Know your route and always travel with a full tank of gas.
•· Pack a winter travel safety kit.
•· Make frequent rest stops.
Before traveling, motorists can log on to http://www.modot.org/ to view an online Traveler Information Map, which gives an updated view of weather-related road conditions for major Missouri highways. Travelers can also call MoDOT's customer service center for road conditions at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636). The toll-free phone line is answered 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
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