MISSOURI - As KOMU 8's First Alert Weather Team predicts snow in the forecast for mid-Missouri, the Missouri Department of Transportation warns drivers to only drive if they feel it's necessary. 

"If you're not on the road, you don't have to worry about your safety," John Shafer, district maintenance engineer for MoDOT, said. 

MoDOT recommends looking at its traveler information map before heading out on the road. 

If people do decide to travel, MoDOT said it's best to stay as prepared as possible. 

"If they're going to be out, we highly recommend they have a full tank of fuel, that they have blankets, they have snacks," Shafer said. 

Shafer also said to remain in the car, because if their car slides off the roads, it means the road is slick and other cars could slide too.

"You're much safer to stay in your vehicle and wait for help than going out and trying to find [help]," Shafer said. 

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) also recommends changing your tires and checking their pressure regularly and considering extra snow precautions when necessary.

MoDOT said it aims to clear the roads as quickly as possible, but it could take longer than expected.

"In terms of treating the roads, we are going to be on it as soon as the weather starts, and we're going to be on it throughout the course of the storm," Shafer said. "After the storm stops, it doesn't mean that we're finished. We still have to get all of our major roads into clear to mostly clear condition. So we're still going to be out for a long time after the storm is over."

Ongoing staffing shortages compounded by the pandemic means a fewer number of workers helping clear the roads. 

"One thing that we do ask people to keep in mind is that MoDOT, along with a lot of other driver-oriented agencies around the nation, does have a shortage of personnel right now," Shafer said.

Shafer said they are down several hundred people around the state, so it might take them a little longer.

DOT also recommends bringing a phone charger, a flashlight and jumper cables if drivers do end up going out in the snow. 

To report an error or typo, email news@komu.com.

KOMU 8 Reporter

Lucy is a reporter, anchor and producer with KOMU. You can reach her on twitter at @lucycaile and on Instagram at @lucycaile.news.

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