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Winter weather creates slick roads across Montana

Published On: Jan 10 2013 10:52:13 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Winter weather conditions created slick roads and highways across Montana Thursday. Icy roads and multiple accidents backed up along Highway 93 south of Missoula.

We checked how many wrecks Montana Highway Patrol responded to Thursday: 40 near Kalispell and 57 in the Missoula area

Sources we talked to said roads within a 40-mile radius of Missoula were extremely dangerous Thursday.  Troopers advise drivers to slow down, take their time and stay off the roads if possible. 

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Burman says after 20 years with the force he has seen his fair share of serious winter wrecks.

“I understand that there are a lot of pressures on people to try and get places to get things accomplished but ultimately if you crash none of them get done,” said Burman. 

We asked what problem areas he sees on Montana's highways and interstates.

“At ramps somebody's slowing down to get off, somebody's accelerating to get on and somebody's moving around to allow for that,” said Burman.  “These are areas where we commonly see problems.”

Trooper Andrew Novak says MHP responds to a lot of wrecks on corners and turns.

“Slow down to 55 mph around this corner,” he says referring to the S-curves between Missoula and Lolo.  “That speed is advised under optimal conditions under these conditions more like 25 to 35 miles per hour is probably appropriate.”

Novak says weather-related crashes are avoidable.

“Increase following distance, decrease speed particularly on curves and slow down ahead of time,” said Novak.  “Be cautious and we can work together to avoid these types of crashes.”

Burman said the key to making it to your destination safely is to leave early

“In these kinds of conditions you maybe even need to triple your expectation on how long it's going to take you to get places,” said Burman.