Missouri is an interesting interior state, that is considered both a part of the Midwest in the US as well as a border state to the US’s South. Its geography and climate can vary greatly between north and south and driving conditions also vary greatly between urban and rural areas.
Roadways in Missouri
Last year St. Louis roadways were named the 8th worst in the nation. This ranking deals mostly with the results of a particularly harsh winter that increased the size and number of potholes that drivers had to deal with. Although the roadway conditions in this urban center need to be addressed the fact that St. Louis ranks as the 3rd least congested major urban center in the US speaks to the great layout and variety of highways in the area.
However, the plentiful number of Interstate highways, US Highways and Missouri Highways has led to an urban sprawl for the major population area in the state around St. Louis. This has added to the overall commute, making travelers in the area suffer through the 5th longest commute of major cities in the US. Travelers are not stuck in congestion, but because of the availability of clear driving routes Missourians are able to live where they want and typically have longer commutes as a result.
Driver’s need to also be aware of driving conditions in the northern half of the state especially during winter seasons as snow and ice can become a factor. The northern half of the state is part of the Northern Plains that provide a consistent rolling hill terrain that is the ‘bread basket’ of America, while the southern half rises to meet the Ozark Mountains and the Ozark Plateau. This southern portion is dotted with high limestone cliffs and one of the US’s most plentiful cave systems as a result. The Bootheel area of the state is the lowest, flattest and warmest region of the state as part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain.
Humid Continental, Mostly
Missouri for the most part has a humid continental climate, except for the extreme southeast portion of the state referred to as the Bootheel, which has a humid subtropical climate. This means that much of the state has harsh cold snowy winters and hot, wet and humid summers. Being an interior state without the moderating effects of major bodies of water or mountains, Missouri also feels the full variation of temperature ranges as cold fronts come down from the arctic and hot humid air masses come up from the Gulf of Mexico in winter and summer respectively.
From -40F to 118F, temperature can be quite a variance throughout the state. Being located in what is referred to as Dixie Alley, a subset of the larger region often referred to as Tornado Alley. Missouri is ranked 13th in number of tornadoes per square mile according to the National Climatic Data Center. As well St. Louis has suffered the most damaging and highest death toll tornadoes of any major metropolis in the US. With the 1st, 2nd and 7th most costly tornadoes to its credit, St. Louis residents have dealt with a tornado’s destructive capabilities on many occasions over the last 120 years.
With the free flow of air masses from the cold northern reaches of North America and the warm jet stream from the Gulf of Mexico, the conditions allow for the perfect conditions for severe thunderstorms that often transform into tornadoes.
At Fault for Pure Comparative Fault
At 35th least expensive for insurance, the legal system for Missourians seems to be working in their favor in regards to insurance costs. Although this might also be due in part to having the least congestion in a major urban center more than it’s at fault system.
Missouri’s at fault system means that drivers have a full range of options should they become involved in an auto accident as a driver, pedestrian or property owner that received damage or injury as a result of an auto accident. From settling privately to making claims against the at fault person’s insurance company or your own insurance to launching a civil lawsuit all options are open to you in this state.
The pure comparative fault rule means that even if you are mostly at fault, you can still reclaim a portion of your expenses. If you are assessed 60% of the blame, you can still recover 40% of your accident expenses, mitigating your risk in regards to an accident.
Harsh DUI Suspensions
Missouri DUI charges result in fairly harsh penalties especially for second and third offenses within a specified time period. First offenses include a 90 day suspension, up to 6 months in jail, a $500 fine and possible mandatory drug or alcohol treatment programs.
However if a second offense falls within 5 years of a first offense you can expect a 5 year license suspension and a third or subsequent offense results in a whopping 10 year license cancellation. This is on top of other typical penalties as listed above including fines, jail time, ignition interlock devices and treatment programs.
As an implied consent state, you will also receive a minimum 1 year license suspension for refusing a chemical test either roadside or at the hospital in connection to a DUI suspicion.
Harsh Demerit System too
With just 8 traffic violation demerit points in an 18 month period you could face a minimum 30 day suspension, 60 day on second offenses and 90 days on third offenses. With higher demerit points within a 1, 2, or 3 year period you can also face a full license cancellation up to 1 year. Ensure you have a quality attorney to protect your driving privileges in Missouri.
Did You Know That…
1. Missouri borders 8 other states, only Tennessee also borders 8 as the most of any state in the US.
2. With Pure Comparative Fault you can recover damages even at 99% fault.
3. St. Louis has one of the least congestion rates of any US big city.
4. The state has suffered the worst tornado catastrophe in US history.
5. Although considered a Midwest state it was largely influenced by the South.
6. A 5 year license suspension takes effect for just your second DUI offense.
7. With no mountains or large bodies of water its temperature range varies a lot.
8. Those in the rear seat, except children under 16 are not required to use seat belts as part of state laws.
9. It is at the confluence of the three greatest rivers in America: Mississippi, Missouri and the Ohio Rivers.
10. Harry S. Truman, US President from 1945-1953.