PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety have opened the closed portions of Interstate 90 and Interstate 29 in both directions.
Officials are advising motorists that even though the interstates are open, driving conditions are still difficult across the eastern part of the state. The blizzard warning for these areas remain in effect until 6 p.m. CST tonight.
Roadways are ice covered, snow-packed and slippery, and continue to experience drifting in open areas, and at bridge ends and overpasses. Visibilities are low to near zero with continued wind gusts up to 50 mph and white-outs happen without warning. High-profile vehicles especially will have difficulty travelling and should postpone travel until the winds go down.
Crews are out clearing drifts, but with the low temperatures and high winds, chemicals are ineffective at melting ice. No Travel Advisories will remain posted on portions of the interstate and many other state highways until winds go down and the storm system passes through the state.
Travelers are encouraged to postpone travel until this storm system exits the state. Anyone choosing to venture out today is asked to use extreme caution, take your time, reduce speed, avoid distractions, wear your seatbelt (all occupants), keep the cruise off, physically turn on your headlights so you can be seen, be prepared for changing conditions, and allow extra space between you and the car in front of you.
SDDOT snowplows crews are out working and motorists are reminded plows travel at 25 mph or less and to stay eight car lengths behind the plow to allow ample stopping time on icy roadways. Never pass in a snow cloud and remember, they are clearing the road in front of you.
Be sure to visit www.safetravelusa.com/sd or call 5-1-1 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out.
If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.
- 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
- Don’t use cruise control on icy or snow-covered roads
- Use highly traveled roads and highways
- Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
- Call 511 or visit safetravelusa.com/sd for road conditions
- 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 in your vehicle
- 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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