(Photo by Jill Bock, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Last week's ice storm and this morning's slick roads should serve as a reminder for area motorists: plan ahead for holiday travel.
Two fatalities occurred in the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E's area following the low temperatures and precipitation that combined last week to create dangerous driving conditions in the area.
Area law enforcement agencies had already reported numerous single-vehicle accidents on icy roads by press time.
"Accidents, accidents, accidents," said Tim Gordon, Pemiscot County Sheriff Department dispatcher. According to Gordon none involved injuries, or for the most part vehicle damage, rather vehicles skidding into ditches or into the highway median.
Similar conditions were reported throughout Southeast Missouri.
As more precipitation is in the forecast for the next couple of days, those planning holiday travel should plan accordingly.
The Road Condition Report number is 1-800-222-6400. The Patrol recommends making sure your vehicle is winterized when bad weather is expected and allow extra time to reach your destination.
Those who plan to be on the road should also keep in mind that holiday drivers have an affect on traffic patterns, the Patrol reminded motorists in a holiday traffic press release.
"All available officers will be on the roadway during this holiday season," said Col. James F. Keathley, superintendent of the Patrol in the press release. "Please wear a seat belt, be courteous to other drivers, obey all traffic laws, and refrain from drinking and driving."
This year's traffic crash counting period for Christmas begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
During last year's Christmas holiday counting period, there were eight deaths and 623 injuries in the 1,857 traffic crashes statewide.
In the event of a traffic emergency, contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol at 1-800-525-5555 or *55 on a cellular phone.
These emergency numbers ring into the nearest Highway Patrol headquarters and should also be used if you are in a crash, witness a crash or crime, or pass a stranded motorist in need of assistance.