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Winter driving conditions cause multiple crashes in Butte

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:35:09 AM MST
Updated On: Oct 28 2013 06:43:53 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

Conditions led to a number of slide-offs in the Butte area throughout the day, keeping officers very busy.

The Montana Highway Patrol said they saw crashes all day on Monday.

"We've been seeing a lot of one-vehicle, some two-vehicle, but mostly one-vehicle slide-offs," said Montana Highway Patrol Captain Gary Becker.

Becker said he saw it all Monday, from jack-knifed semis, to cars that simply couldn't make it up the pass.

All in all, between midnight Monday and about two in the afternoon, troopers responded to 9 slide-offs, 13 crashes, even a car that slid into a Butte police officer's vehicle.

"They're just going too fast for the conditions and when they do lose control it's out of their hands and they're along for the ride at that point," Becker explained.

The slushy and icy roads have already caused multiple crashes in the Butte area, and when this slush turns to ice, driving conditions will get worse.

"Sometimes when people think they're dry, they're actually black ice out there," said Becker.

Black ice is one of the most dangerous winter driving conditions. Black ice gets its name because it's next to impossible to spot just by looking at the road.

Combine that with how early it is in the season, and Becker said: "People are getting acclimated to winter driving all over again, and they need to make sure they're slowing down and driving appropriately through road conditions that are out there."

He said the the best way to stay safe is to drive smart -- winterize your car and your driving mentality.