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As snow continues to fall across most of Wisconsin, with total accumulations predicted between 5 to 10 inches and dangerous winds and temperatures to follow, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation urges motorists to take extra precautions if travel is necessary.
WisDOT’s 511wi.gov winter road condition map is showing most roads are snow covered and slippery ice-covered highways in northern Wisconsin. Hazardous conditions will continue and will impact the evening commute.
Preparation before winter travel:
- Know the current road conditions, check 511wi.gov for the latest updates
- Clear snow and ice from vehicles prior to traveling
- Ensure full tank of gas and windshield washer fluid
- Inform others about your route and expected travel time
Precautions while driving:
- Drive for road conditions, slow down; posted speed limits are for ideal conditions
- Increase following distance, leaving plenty of room for stopping
- Headlights on
- Buckle up
- Pay attention and limit distractions
- Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows, move over or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles
- Be cautious on bridges, overpasses and entrance and exit ramps as they ice sooner than roadways
- If you are in a crash, or in a run-off-the-road incident: stay in your vehicle; activate your vehicle’s hazard lights; and call 911
Caution around snowplows
WisDOT reminds motorists that it is illegal to follow a snowplow closer than 200 feet if the plow is engaged in snow and ice removal on highways with a posted speed limit of more than 35 mph. Most crashes involving snowplows and vehicles happen when a snowplow is rear ended or hit while being passed.
Motorists may legally pass a working snowplow but are advised to use extreme caution as road conditions could be worse ahead of the plow.
Dangerously cold air to impact road conditions
Snowplows were out working through the night and will continue through the day (1/23) to remove snow from roadways and provide ice control. Strong, gusty northwest winds of 15 to 25 mph, with gusts to 35 mph are forecasted for Thursday (1/24). Wind chills of -20 to -40 degrees are expected over the next few days. Extensive blowing and drifting of new snow across open and unsheltered areas will add additional travel hazards.
Wisconsin State Patrol responded to the following between 11 a.m. on 1/22 and 7 a.m. on 1/23:
- 96 – Motorist Assists
- 50 – Vehicle Runoffs
- 35 – Property Damage Crashes
- 3 – Personal Injury Crashes
- 13 – Unknown Injury Crashes
- 3 – Hit and Run
Additional winter resources: