Archived Story

It’s dangerous and dumb to drive in a blizzard

Published 9:14am Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The blizzard that paralyzed much of southern Minnesota last Thursday and Friday was astounding. The many drivers who went into the ditch on county roads, highways and interstates, despite ample warning of an impending catastrophic winter storm, were even more astounding.

We cannot believe this needs to be said, but people really shouldn’t drive in a blizzard. It’s recklessly dangerous and, in some cases, fatal. While we are glad no fatalities were reported because of the blizzard, we are amazed people would try to drive anywhere after law enforcement around the state issued travel advisories in advance of the storm. Many motorists even drove on a closed freeway between Albert Lea and Owatonna.

When you try to outrun a blizzard, you don’t just put yourself in danger. You put all of the emergency personnel who have to dig you out in danger, too. Even then, few could respond to the flood of calls for help from stranded motorists because blowing snow and icy conditions had made roads impassable.

Some drivers seem to assume that if they go in the ditch, they will be bailed out by troopers and tow truck drivers. But that’s not always the case. Some people have to spend hours in their cars.

Plow crews moved slowly throughout the region Thursday and Friday because the blizzard made it difficult to see the roads. That is, when they weren’t towed out of the ditch themselves.

The Minnesota State Patrol and Department of Transportation issued joint statements urging drivers off roadways as veteran officers said conditions were “as bad as they’ve seen in 25 years.”

We hope the lesson behind this latest storm will take hold: It’s just plain dangerous to drive in a blizzard.