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Experts say be to ready for slide-offs ahead of winter storm

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

One of the major dangers of winter storm driving is the chance of running off the road.

And with snowfall expected in Mid-Missouri, the storm is likely to cause plenty of vehicles to do just that.

The ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather team is tracking the potential for a winter storm that could bring snow to much of the region, with heavy snow possible between Tuesday night and Wednesday. Snow is expected to be hitting throughout the Mid-Missouri area before midnight.

Experts -- such as AAA --- advise drivers not to leave their vehicles if they become stuck on the roads. The shelter of the vehicle will protect them from the elements and other drivers who may slide or get stuck.

AAA spokesman Nick Chabarria says annual paid memberships provide protection for roadside assistance throughout the entire state.

"Tow services around the state of Missouri are contracted to local operators," Chabarria said. "We have our AAA branches that are staffed by our AAA employees, but when it comes to emergency roadside service, we found that we can better reach our members more quickly and efficiently by contracting out to some of these local providers."

Chabarria said that last month's average response time was roughly 55 minutes.

"Of course that will vary greatly during the winter weather event for example," Chabarria said. "Response times could be a little bit higher in those heavily impacted areas."

Some other tips include clear the exhaust pipe if it is clogged with snow or mud. A clogged pipe can create deadly carbon monoxide that can leak into the car. AAA says winter weather and slick road conditions are factors in more than 2,000 road deaths every year.

Tows for Tiger Towing in Columbia start at $70 within city limits, and mileage starts getting tacked onto the price once the tow truck leaves the city limits.

"We're not contracted through insurance," Shawn Young, who works for Tiger Towing, said. "We always recommend people to keep the receipts. We send them a receipt and they can forward it to insurance, and they will get reimbursed for insurance."

Young said their average response time is roughly 30 minutes.

According to Young and Chabarria, the most important thing to do if a car breaks down or slides off the road, is to be specific about the location you are at, and to stay in the car. Getting out with slick conditions makes a situation much more dangerous.

"The biggest thing is to be specific about your location," Chabarria said. "Pay attention to mile markers or what direction you are traveling. At the very least, know what towns you are close to in-order to help crews locate you."

Experts say the best idea is to stay home, even for good drivers. Slick roads can cause a slide-off, leaving the car in a ditch.

Powering up a hill can cause tires to slide and not gain any traction. Also, do not stop while traveling uphill. According to AAA, it's important to gain inertia before attempting to go uphill and let your car carry you not the accelerator pedal.

Bring extra clothes, blankets, snacks and water on long trips and let others know your route. AAA also advises keeping a charged phone and a phone charger.

During the last significant snowstorm that hit Mid-Missouri, Troop F of the Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to 249 calls for service including 147 stranded vehicles, 47 non-injury crashes and two injury crashes.

Article Topic Follows: Weather

Ethan Heinz

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