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Ask a Trooper: What are troopers seeing on slippery roads?

Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol

Question: In the past few weeks, I noticed a major increase in the number of crashes due to slippery roads. Can you explain the importance of driving with due care and what troopers are seeing?

Answer: We have been extremely busy this winter responding to many crashes and calls about vehicles off the road. Since we're responding to an increased number of incidents, it increases the chances that we'll get hit from a secondary crash.

Multiple squads have been hit by passing motorists in February alone and some crashes involved injuries.

We use our patrol cars to secure and protect a crash scene so those involved are protected from other passing vehicles. This becomes extremely dangerous for the troopers that are securing the crash scene and especially if the crash is blocking a lane of traffic on a slippery roadway.

We will request other troopers or available law enforcement agencies to assist us with traffic control by slowing down approaching motorists and warning them of a lane closure.

I was almost struck myself recently when I came upon a two-vehicle crash that was blocking the right lane on the freeway during one of our recent snowstorms. There were numerous secondary crashes behind me where vehicles skidded by my patrol car at high speeds.

If you see an emergency vehicle that is parked with its emergency lights on and there is no crash they are investigating, this is a warning for all the approaching motorists that there is an incident ahead. Please remember to move over if you can when you see flashing lights. If it is unsafe to move over, slow down significantly.

Motorists also need to pay attention at all times and adjust their speeds to the current road conditions. Always wear your seat belt, increase your following distance and make sure your lights are on when visibility is reduced.

Our office is the highway and we need your help to keep ourselves and other motorists safe.

Send your questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota to trooper@duluthnews.com or Sgt. Neil Dickenson — Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811.