ND Highway Patrol: 'Overall, we have normal winter driving conditions'
Road conditions have been fairly good over the Christmas holiday, but officials say that things can change and drivers should proceed with caution.
Winter officially began Friday, but southwest North Dakota has been experiencing winter weather since an early snowfall at the beginning of October.
"Overall, we have normal winter driving conditions," said North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Haugen. "Depending on wind conditions, you may surprisingly come across a stretch of icy road and then it may become dry again."
The Stark County Sheriff's Office responded to a slide-off northeast of Dickinson on Sunday that resulted in minor injuries to the driver, whose name was not released, Capt. Dean Franchuk said.
The Dickinson Office of NDHP had responded to about three minor accidents, such as slide-offs, over the Christmas holiday and the weekend preceding it, Haugen said. There was one slide-off south of Belfield on Highway 85.
In Dickinson, there have been very few road condition-related accidents so far, Dickinson Police Department Capt. Joe Cianni said.
"The volume of traffic on the roads is keeping vehicle speeds down and possibly keeping the accidents down," he said.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation has a travel information map available on its website that has accurate information, Haugen said.
"The snowplow operators phone in to Bismarck and that's how it's updated," he said. "That's what we use to determine where we should work during a storm. We like to have the troopers on the worst roads, so to speak, so they're closer to respond to calls."
During winter, it is important for drivers to take their time, not use cruise control and adapt as road conditions change, Haugen said. Drivers should give each other space, especially on four-lane roads.
"Slow down and be cautious is the main thing," Franchuk said.