Joplin Police offer tips on driving safely in wintry weather

JOPLIN, Mo. – The wintry weather has led to dangerous driving conditions. We spoke with the Joplin Police Department to get some tips on safe driving.

Since the wintry weather set in, Sergeant Jared Delzell with the Joplin Police Department says officers have been busy. “Our calls for slide offs and vehicle assists, collisions, were extremely high.”

He’s got some tips on how to decrease their workload and keep yourself safe. “Decrease your speed, decrease your following distance, allow several cars of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to allow you to stop, and if you do lose control, try to maintain your composure, steer out of it if you can.”

Snow and ice can be two different beasts on the road, and Delzell has some tips on how to handle icy weather as well. “You could gear down, you can just take your foot off the brake some, so that you’re not completely locking up your brakes allowing your tires to rotate and get some traction on the roadway.”

Rick Nixon with Nixon’s Garage and Towing says they’ve been working from 7:00am until there aren’t any more calls. “Because the roads are crowned even in the city, there’s plenty of cars that have just slipped to the side and hit the curb and done enough damage that they’re uncomfortable driving them home, so not necessarily in the ditch, but there’s plenty of them in the ditch.”

There’s something else to be aware of. Sergeant Delzell says under normal circumstances in Missouri, you follow the speed limit, but in dangerous conditions, the rules change. “The basic speed law says that when weather conditions are a factor or cause a roadway hazard, that you’re to slow down, the speed limit is not the speed limit, and in fact, you could be cited for driving the speed limit on a roadway that’s covered in ice.”

Nixon says he’s got some simple advice. “Bottom line is caution and patience, just take your time, take your time, and if you don’t have to go, don’t go.”

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