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Winter returns to close schools and cause accidents in Columbia

Winter returned to Columbia and Central Missouri last weekend, causing car accidents and school closings. The University of Missouri was closed on Monday, as did some of the other colleges in the area. Ironically, one local school district that had been planning on being open despite the President's Day holiday to make up for a previous snow day, was forced to take a snow day for their snow day.

The Columbia Public Works Department was reminding everyone that because of the cold temperature that will follow the snow, snow removal from the roads would not be as complete and that their chemicals, like road salt, will be less effective. This means the roads could remain snow covered and contain numerous icy spots for unwary drivers.

The police reported 12 motor vehicle accidents from Sunday into Monday morning, including one that occurred on I-70 with severe injuries resulting from a rollover accident.

This type of weather, with heavy snow and limited visibility, demands drivers change their typical behavior of driving too fast and following too closely. On a road like I-70, where traffic can accumulate into clumps, all it takes is one driver's negligence to set off a dangerous chain-reaction crash.

And narrow, two-lane roads leading out from Columbia carry with them their own dangers, from other drivers losing control and crossing the centerline of the road, to vehicles striking slippery spots and suddenly spinning out of control, only to come to a halt after multiple rollovers or crashing against a tree or utility pole.

Such a collision can turn a minor spinout into a fatal car crash in an instant. And drivers should be on the alert for black ice at night or on seemingly clear patches of roadway. Slow down, take it easy, and before we know it, March will arrive.

Columbiatribune.com, "Snowstorm causes traffic headaches, closes college campuses," Alicia Stice, February 16, 2015

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