Travel a challenge across many parts of South Dakota
State Transportation and Public Safety officials caution South Dakota motorists that travel remains very difficult on many highways across South Dakota due to periods of near zero visibility.
Heavy snow and strong winds overnight and early this morning have caused roads to become snow-packed and slippery and created white-out conditions at times. No-travel advisories continue on several roads, especially in eastern South Dakota.
"There are bands of new snow that continue moving through eastern South Dakota,'' said Greg Fuller, director of operations for the South Dakota Transportation Department. "It may seem the storm is letting up, but then one of these bands of new snow moves through and conditions deteriorate very quickly with visibility dropping to near zero at times. That means travel will continue to be a challenge through most of the day today.''
Officials ask the traveling public to check road conditions on www.safetravelusa.com/sd or 511 before traveling and to be aware that road conditions can change rapidly.
Transportation Department crews will continue maintenance operations into the early evening hours when it is safe to do so.
The Departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.
Call 511 or visit safetravelusa.com for road conditions
Wear your seatbelt
Travel during the day
Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
Use highly traveled roads and highways
Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car. The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
Travel with a charged cell phone, but don't rely on it to get you out of a bad situation
Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant
If you do get stranded:
Stay with your vehicle – do not try to walk for help
Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
When it's dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers
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