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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Truck Spins Out And Kills Two in Otter Tail County

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Friday afternoon, a truck lost control in the snow and hit an oncoming car head on. The crash occurred early Friday afternoon near the Otter Tail County town of French, about 6 miles west of Fergus Falls. Two people in the pickup,the driver and his mother were killed. Two others in the truck and the driver of the other vehicle were injured.

These deaths, like any other on Minnesota roads is particularly unfortunate considering it comes a month after the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (MDPS) reported that overall the number of highway deaths has been down for 2009 with more than 300 people having died this year in Minnesota traffic collisions. There were 458 deaths in 2008, which was a drop from 510 in 2007. In this tragic case, sorrow for the family of the couple killed goes out.

It’s October, but tragedies like this remind us that we are just starting to see snow. It’s never to early to be safe and review the winter road tips from DPS and MnDOT :

  • Always use seat belts.

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly on icy/snow-covered roads to retain traction and avoid skids.

  • Do not use cruise control.

  • Do not “power up” hills, which may cause wheels to spin. Build momentum before reaching a hill and don’t stop while traveling uphill. Reduce speed before going downhill.

  • Know your brakes. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of the foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

  • Give yourself plenty of travel time. Don’t put your schedule before safety.

  • Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.

  • Headlights must be turned on when it is snowing or sleeting.

Most police officers asked say the key is usually to Just Slow Down.

As with any death in a Minnesota motor vehicle collision, there are many issues that will need to be reviewed. My partner, Joe Crumley, addressed this topic in a recent article for the Minnesota Lawyers Trial magazine. I was interviewed last year on the same topic.