A Winter Driving Warning . . .

Montana Highway Patrol

This is from actual footage (video below) of a winter crash scene during a blizzard. The majority of drivers maintained a safe and prudent speed for conditions.

Unfortunately, several drivers of commercial motor vehicles did not. They continued to drive too fast for conditions and lost control of their vehicles.

Fact— On average, 6,250 people are killed and over 480,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year.


Weather-related crashes are defined as those crashes that occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe crosswinds, or blowing snow/sand/debris) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet pavement, snowy/slushy pavement, or icy pavement).


Twenty-three percent (23%) of crashes—nearly 1,312,000 each year—are weather-related. (FHWA)



More than 700 officers lost their lives from 2000 to 2009 because of an automobile or motorcycle crash or from being struck and killed while outside of their patrol vehicles.  (Police Chief Magazine)

The Montana Highway Patrol hopes that this video will encourage drivers to use caution around emergency vehicles.

What We Should Do

Drivers should slow down and move into another lane when emergency vehicles are parked on the side of the road. This is the law in all 50 states (the only exception being Washington, D.C.) and all provinces of Canada. But not everyone follows this law.

Reduce your speed. Reduce speed by at least one-half when the road is slippery. In adverse conditions, it will take longer to stop and it will be harder to turn without skidding. Slow down gradually. (CDL Manual)

If the road does not offer multiple lanes, the driver must slow down at least 20 MPH under the speed limit in Texas. (On Texas roadways with posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less, drivers must reduce their speed to 5 miles per hour.)

If you’re approaching the scene of an accident, be courteous and put on your hazard warning lights so traffic behind you knows there’s an emergency ahead and they need to slow down.

If traffic is still going past the scene, pull over as far as you can in the passing lane and proceed slowly and cautiously.

Don’t become a gawker.

Do not attempt to take photos or video.

Warning lights, reflective vests, and reflectors are what to look for and pay attention to in an accident scene.

Warning lights on an emergency vehicle are used when the emergency vehicle is maneuvering or is stopped in a location where it creates a traffic hazard. In either case, slow down and approach cautiously and move over, if it is safe to pass.

Please be careful when driving in adverse weather this winter. Thank you for reading this.

Related . . .

Positioning the Commercial Motor Vehicle When Stopped

Comments are closed.