Snow, ice cause headaches for Gallatin County drivers


POSTED: 7:10 PM Oct 24 2012   UPDATED: 9:20 PM Oct 24 2012
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Folks with Montana Highway Patrol say even with the Department of Transportation working around the clock to treat roads and highways, winter weather conditions contributed to between 10 and 15 crashes in Gallatin County Wednesday morning.  

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Brad Moore was called in at 2:30 in the morning to help with crashes.

"Our night officers were real busy working the pass, we had semi's sliding out, spinning out up on the pass," says Moore.

He says it started with a semi rollover out by Three Forks but it certainly didn't end there.  

Moore identified the stretch of highway between the East Main and Seventh Avenue interchanges as the most problematic for drivers.  He reports total of five crashes there, mostly due to icy bridge decks.

"People get confident on good roads and then all of the sudden they come up onto something that has a section of ice where it just sneaks up on them.  They realize it and hit their breaks and they potentially can lose control," says Moore.

Trooper Brad Moore tells us a lot of factors played into these accidents, not just poor driving conditions.
He says the motorists in the accidents he saw were wearing their seat belts and only suffered minor injuries.  

We talked to some folks who say the roads were fine for them.

Jennifer Naething commutes from Livingston for work on North Seventh in Bozeman.

"Conditions were fine.  The roads were clear.  There was a little bit of snow on the grass and things like that but they had the roads all cleared off," says Naething.

Though she didn't have trouble Wednesday, she says it's important to take precautions.

"Drive a little bit slower, put a little extra distance between you and the car in front of you and just put your brakes on a little bit earlier, start to slow down so you have extra time to stop," says Naething.

Moore tells us it’s also a good idea to invest in snow tires and to be prepared for changing conditions.