With heavy travel expected on roads during the holiday weekend, the Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists to check 511 for road conditions before heading out. “We want to wish everyone a happy holiday,” said Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “Check the road conditions before you head out for your holiday celebrations. The best gift is to arrive safely.”
MnDOT advises motorists to use the 511 traveler information system website and phone app to plan their travel. The system provides road and winter driving conditions for the entire state and links to National Weather Service information.
The system is available at www.511mn.org, by dialing 511, or the free 511 app on smartphones and other mobile devices.
MnDOT also warns of blow ice in open areas around the state. Blow ice forms after snow blows over a roadway and sticks to the surface. It melts and refreezes, creating an icy patch. Rural areas with minimal ground cover or foliage to stop the wind often will see blow ice form on the highways, creating hazards for motorists who may have been driving on relatively bare roads until that point.
When driving near snowplows, motorists should be patient and remember that snowplows are working to improve road conditions. Motorists should stay back at least five, and preferably 10, car lengths behind the plow.
For safe winter driving, MnDOT asks motorists to take responsibility to:
Avoid distractions; stay off cell phones and mobile devices.
Don’t crowd the plow. Stay back at least five car lengths, and preferably 10, from the snow plow.
Obey the law by turning on headlights and wearing seat belts.
Turn off cruise control.
Make sure vehicles are in good operating condition for winter driving. Allow extra travel time and always be prepared when traveling during winter weather events.
For more winter driving information, visit www.mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.