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This past week , two Minnesotans were killed in separate Sherburne county collisions. On December 11th, Sherburne County deputies responded to a motor vehicle crash with the vehicle on fire near the intersection of County Road 45 and County Road 42 in Baldwin Township. The car had been northbound on County Road 45, when it began to drift into the southbound lane and then into the ditch on the west side of the road. The Driver was killed.

Three days later, Sherburne County deputies and rescue personnel responded to a crash in Big Lake Township near the intersection of County Road 79 and 214th Avenue. In this accident a car spun out of control as the car entered the intersection from southbound County Road 79 and directly into a northbound vehicle. The Driver of the first vehicle was killed and occupants from both cars where taken to the hospital with injuries.

In reviewing the evidence for both collisions the deputies found the weather conditions and speed to be contributing factors.

Winter road tips from DPS and MnDOT include:

  • 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 a number of 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. In this case sorrow for the families of those involved goes out.

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