Once a year at the start of each winter driving season, KGVO presents a startling 2015 video in which Montana Highway Patrol Troopers Wade Palmer and T.J. Templeton place their lives at risk to save a woman and child during a multiple vehicle accident on icy I-90 near Frenchtown.

View that video here.

Referring to that impactful video in which both troopers received Medals of Valor, MHP Sergeant Jay Nelson provided important tips for drivers relearning the winter driving skills necessary to travel safely to their destinations.

“I appreciate you bringing up Trooper Palmer and Trooper Templeton,” said Sergeant Nelson. “That video is quite dramatic. I really think not only them but all the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol that truly go through a lot of those situations on a regular basis.” Being a native of Montana, sometimes we don’t want that snow to show up, however, it's part of being in Montana. It might show up in July, or show up like it is right now.”

Nelson said the simplest advice is best in winter driving conditions with just two words, ‘slow down’.

“The biggest things that we can tell the motorist for days like today is truly slow down,” he said. “If you don't have to go out, please look for alternatives. But please slow down. That includes increasing your following distance. If you're behind somebody, and you're getting frustrated, please don't pass. We see so many times when people are trying to pass on ice or snow covered roads, that that's where we lose control.”

Nelson said the old Boy Scout motto applies in winter, to be prepared and make sure your vehicle is winter-ready.

“Definitely look at maintaining your vehicle,” he said. “Have you checked your tires recently or had a tire professional do so and make sure all the fluids in your vehicle are full. Always pack an emergency kit. We have a lot of rural areas in Montana where we don't have cell coverage and people might not be passing by on a regular basis. So if you're caught in that position, make sure that you have a blanket, some type of signaling device, maybe some snacks that are non perishable in your vehicle should something like this happen.”

Nelson saved the most important advice for last, for everyone traveling in your vehicle without exception.

“Most important of all, is always wear your seat belt,” he said. “As I say, it's the cheapest life insurance policy you'll ever buy, and we find such a dramatic decrease in injuries and increase in survivability by just wearing the seat belt.”

Now that winter conditions are becoming more prevalent in western Montana, the Highway Patrol asks you to slow down, don’t follow too close and always, always wear your seat belt.


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