Highway Patrol warns of increased danger on roads as work, school resume

Mitch Prentice
Lake Sun Leader
A snowy Missouri State Highway Patrol vehicle.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Kyle Green says that this week may be tough for patrol officers. 

MSHP has faced high call volume for over a week now, as snow has continued to fall and temperatures stay low. From midnight to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Troop F received 85 calls for service. This included 56 stranded motorists and 7 crashes.  

Luckily, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as temperatures should rise above freezing levels by the start of next week. However, Green warns that as workers and students continue to travel this week after the holiday, the roads may be packed and more dangerous than this past weekend. 

For patrol officers, moving to and from crashes while conditions are snowy and cold can be difficult. Many accidents can happen in isolated, rural areas that do not have well-maintained roadways or many officers in the area ready to assist. Troop F, which covers the major lake counties, is asking that residents do not travel unless absolutely necessary this week.

When drivers attempt to go out and end up needing assistance from the patrol, this can spread officers thin. Officers who have to travel to a minor accident will no longer be able to assist when a major crash occurs in the area. 

Another concern around the lake at this time is the use of ice to play or explore. Certain coves around the lake have seen a layer of ice form on top, which is rare. Green says that parents should be careful not to allow children to venture onto this ice to play, as a weak spot could break and plunge those on top into extremely dangerous waters. It only takes seconds in these conditions to lose the function of limbs.

The same goes for adults. The ice forming on the lake should be avoided at all times. 

If travel is mandatory, Green suggests a few key tips for staying safe in the case of an accident where a passenger could be stranded for an extended amount of time.

-Keep a blanket or an extra coat in the vehicle

-Keep a water bottle and a small snack in the vehicle

-Make sure cell phones are fully charged before heading out

-Be sure to scrape all ice and snow off of windows before leaving the house