Missouri Highway Patrol asks drivers to be cautious

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – If you plan on traveling from the Ozarks to see family for the holidays, you need to be cautious on the roads.

Thursday, drivers traveling on I-44 in Lawrence County faced a three-hour-long backup after a tractor-trailer unit holding frozen chicken tipped over. An incident reminds you to think twice if you still plan to hit the roads.

”We have had a lot of slide-offs and minor crashes that are creating traffic congestion,” said Trooper Sam Carpenter with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Trooper Carpenter worked on I-44 all day Thursday, warning you to slow down.

Despite the weather, drivers are still doing anything to see family.

”My family came down from Kansas City, and we headed out to Table Rock for Christmas with my family,” said Melissa Smallwood, a traveler. “We will take it extra slow and give extra time.”

The Missouri Highway Patrol responded to 143 calls for service, 58 stranded motorists, and 51 crashes between midnight and 2 p.m.

”Our best advice in situations being this cold is not to travel if you don’t have to,” said Carpenter.

Trooper Carpenter says you should make sure your tank is full in case you get stuck in a backup like the one on I-44, and you should also be aware of issues with visibility as snow blows.

”If you do have to travel again, you need to drive incredibly slow,” said Trooper Carpenter. “Our troopers have been all over all over southwest Missouri.”

The Smallwood family plans to be cautious before Christmas because getting there safe is the best present.

”Nothing can stop us from all getting together, so we’re just thankful to be able to spend time together and celebrate Christmas,” said Smallwood.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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