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Driving on snow-covered roads requires extra caution; here are some safety tips



Billings, Montana – As we progress further into the winter season, we should anticipate increasingly hazardous driving conditions for those who choose to venture out onto the roads.

There are some ways to ensure that you reach your final destination while protecting yourself and others while driving in the snow, and those who are new to driving in the snow or anyone looking to refresh their knowledge can benefit from these strategies.

For the past three decades and one year, Jodi Stugelmeyer, who is currently the Assistant Director of Driver’s Education for the Billings Public Schools, has been instructing both children and adults on how to drive safely in a variety of weather conditions.

According to her, the single most important thing that drivers can do to protect themselves when driving in hazardous conditions is to give themselves more time to respond to potential hazards that lie ahead on the road.

“Once you do start on the road, you need a more than a four second following distance. Four seconds on good roads but ten to twelve on bad roads so that it’s not the chain reaction so if one car wrecks everybody wrecks. Hopefully, you won’t be having a wreck, but if you do, then you know we don’t want you out in traffic. We want you to stay in the car and get the help. Don’t leave the car running with the window rolled up tight because you don’t want to get it fixated,” explained Stugelmeyer.

A further piece of advice that she gives is for people to be aware of the speed limits before getting on the interstate, particularly if the road conditions are poor, in order to avoid getting a speeding ticket.

“Montana has the basic speed law in place. So, even though, the interstate to Laurel or may be beyond Laurel might be 80 or 65, if you are driving that on bad road conditions, you can get ticketed for speeding for driving beyond the conditions. So, you never want to drive beyond the conditions and when I am showing kids how to drive, I usually get them up to 40 and we go five miles an hour more in increments,” emphasized Stugelmeyer.

Adults who are interested in brushing up on their knowledge of driving in the snow can sign up for classes at the School District’s Adult Education Office in the Lincoln Center. These classes are part of the School District’s adult driving education program.

The United States Department of Transportation maintains a website and mobile application that can keep you abreast of the most recent information regarding the state of the nation’s roadways.