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Late Snow Has Many Looking Like Rookie Winter Drivers

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s one of the biggest problems with a mild winter. All it takes is a simple snowfall, and winter driving skills look really rusty.

Just as Friday’s morning rush hour was underway, Twin Cities’ freeways turned into banana peels, resulting in more than 600 crashes and spinouts statewide, with half of them here in the metro.

The Minnesota State patrol says that’s a high number considering the relatively minor snowfall.

“People don’t allow extra time to get places, they don’t recognize that it makes the roads hazardous and they often times drive too fast, don’t allow enough time to get to places, and that leads to an incredibly high number of crashes,” said Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.

A fleet of Minnesota Department of Transportation plows were on the roads by 3:30 a.m. and with snow in the forecast, they began pre-treating major highways with salt and brine on Thursday. Still, below-zero temperatures make any de-icing less effective.

Katie Hill drove down from St. Cloud to bring her roommate to the airport.

“On the way from St. Cloud, once we hit maple Grove, that’s when the weather changed. That’s when I noticed we needed to start slowing down. Up in St. Cloud it wasn’t as bad,” said Hill.

MnDOT and the State Patrol are advising motorists to slow down, to not use cruise control and leave plenty of distance between vehicles on the road.

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