Winter weather, winds cause several crashes in Southwest North Dakota

Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff
Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff

(Dickinson, ND) -- Several crashes resulted in the North Dakota Highway Patrol springing into action Saturday across the southwest part of the state.

The incidents happened mostly along I-94 extending from Richardton to Crystal Springs. Rain combined with cold temperatures which caused extremely icy conditions for the traveling public.

The areas involved were the following:

  • Richardton area: 3 crashes investigated (2 jackknifed semis and 1 passenger car rollover), numerous cars, pickups and Commercial Motor Vehicles stopped in all eastbound lanes of the interstate. Traffic was backed up for approximately 2 miles for vehicles that could not move on the icy roadways.
  • New Salem/Sweet Briar Lake area: 1 semi/car crash investigated, 3 semis stuck in the ditch, 2 stuck on the roadway, numerous cars, pickups, and Commercial Motor Vehicles stopped on the roadway, traffic was backed up for approximately 2 miles west of New Salem in the westbound lanes and backed up for approximately 2 miles from the Sweet Briar exit in the eastbound lanes for vehicles that could not move on the icy roadway.
  • Steele/Crystal Springs area: 4 commercial motor vehicle crashes, 4 semis stuck in the ditch and had to be towed. Jackknifed semis completely blocked the westbound lanes near Crystal Springs for approximately 2.5 hrs. The complete closure and other partial blockages led to traffic being stopped on the roadway until the scenes could be cleared.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol was assisted by the ND Department of Transportation, Stark County Sheriffs Department, Morton County Sheriffs Department and Kidder County Sheriffs Department during the incidents.

The NDHP would remind motorists of the following during inclement weather:

• Increase your following distances. Give yourself extra space to react to the changing
road and traffic conditions.

• Slow down, give yourself extra time to get to where you are going. Most crashes during winter events occur because individuals are traveling too fast for conditions or following too close.

• Get rid of all distractions while driving. Focus on your driving and the other traffic around. Be a defensive driver and put your phones down. No text or phone call is worth your life.

• Turn off your cruise control.

• Place your vehicle in 4x4 mode if possible.

• Turn on your headlights so other traffic can see you in low visibility conditions.

• And always wear your seat belt.