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Travel alert issued for large swath of North Dakota

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FARGO - Winter weather and poor driving conditions have prompted a travel alert for a large swath of North Dakota today.

The alert, issued this morning by the North Dakota Department of Transportation, said affected cities include Fargo, Wahpeton, Valley City, Jamestown and Bismarck.

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The alert covers North Dakota's south central and south east regions. It was prompted by wind and dry snow creating a 'snow fog', blowing snow, and reduced visibility, according to the DOT.

In its statement, the DOT said snowplows and other vehicles can create a snow fog which makes it virtually impossible to see around. "Motorists should slow down and use caution when approaching snowplows or other vehicles and be patient and wait until you can see before passing," it reads.

Here are some tips for sharing the roads with snowplows:

- Stay well back. Sometimes snowplows have to stop and back up and they often spread sanding material.

- Know where the plow is on multi-lane roadways. The plow could be in either lane or on the shoulder.

- Be extremely cautious when passing a snowplow. They can be moved sideways by drifts and hard snow pack.

- Never drive through "white-outs" or "snow fog", caused by cross winds or plowing snow. Snowplows pull over and stop frequently to allow traffic to pass. Be patient and wait until you can see.

- Watch for plow trucks on interstate ramps and "authorized vehicle only" cross-overs.

- Don't assume that you'll have good traction because the road looks sanded. The sand can sink into the snow pack, leaving a slick surface.

- Slow down and drive according to the conditions. Most winter crashes are caused by driving too fast for conditions.

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