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MHP offers advice to stay safe on the road this Thanksgiving

Posted at 8:33 AM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 10:33:54-05

MISSOULA – Thanksgiving is just a few days away, with more people hopping onto the interstate to go visit friends and family for dinner.

Montana Highway Patrol has some tips to get you to your final destination safe and sound Thanksgiving morning.

“Slow down pay attention to your driving. Wear your seatbelts. Don’t drink and drive. Take survival gear in your vehicle,” said Montana Highway Patrol Captain Jim Kitchen. “If the roads are bad, if you could go a day before or a half a day before, go ahead and get that done, because that way you get more relax time when you’re there. Don’t push the envelope on the time, that’s one of the biggest things that we see.”

It takes more tortoise than hare to make it to your destination safely over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Add more time than what you need. If its a three-hour trip, well let’s just make it five hours. Let’s say you are going from here to Billings and it’s a five-hour trip. I would plan on seven-and-a-half hours,” Kitchen said. “If you get there early, great, but if people start pushing it, you know, ‘I need to be there at a certain time or we are going to have dinner at four and I’m going to be late and I start driving fast.’ You get on these bridge decks, they’re going to be iced-up because it’s cold out.”

Because this is Montana in November, continue to look out for those changing road conditions across the state.

“Soon as it starts snowing or the wind starts to blow, you get ice on the bridge deck. You get ice on the roads that are next to the river. Those cause a lot of problems when people aren’t paying attention to that,” Kitchen added.  “It might be bare and dry right here and 40 miles away in Drummond it’s a whiteout. It was that way last Friday. We were going over to Butte and it was a whiteout condition in Drummond and it was fine over here, so be prepared for changing weather.”

MHP uses statistical crash analysis data to try and predict what areas of the road might need their attention more than others.

They also recommend using the MDT website to check on road conditions before you take off.

-Conner McCauley reporting for MTN