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Another crash-filled commute as spring storm sticks around

MINNEAPOLIS — The spring storm lingering over Minnesota since Sunday has taken a few forms – light, pretty snow flakes suitable for a post card, heavy wet glop and as of Monday, driving rain – but the one thing that has remained constant is the system’s impact on the roads below.

Rain began turning to ice around 6 a.m., just before the morning commute kicked off Tuesday, and then to a full-out snow by 7:30 or so. KARE 11’s John Zeigler says snow should continue falling until 1 p.m. or so, with an additional 1 to 3 inches of precip possible.

Impact on the roads is evident from new numbers released by the Minnesota State Patrol. Between 7:30 a.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday troopers responded to 158 crashes (15 with injury, one fatality) and an additional 138 vehicles that either spun out or left the road. The patrol says 15 semis jackknifed during that 24-hour period.

Both highways and neighborhood streets will continue to be slick with moisture from the rain/sleet freezing up. As is usually the case, bridge decks and ramps present the biggest danger. Drivers hear this often during a Minnesota winter, but reminders never hurt.

Don’t use cruise control – It can kick in and accelerate on a slope or bridge deck, causing your vehicle to spin out.

Increase following distance – Having additional room between your vehicle and the one in front gives a driver more time to react should something get sideways.

Try not to hold the steering wheel in a “death grip” – With a lighter grip your arms stay relaxed, and because of that more feedback from the wheel is transferred to your brain about what the vehicle is doing.

Reduce speeds – Again, you will have more time to react to changing situations if driving at a reduced speed.

Stay away from plows – They may not be able to see smaller vehicles in blind spots, and the basic laws of physics apply here…. they are WAY bigger than you.

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