Slippery, icy conditions in southern Manitoba have caused numerous crashes, road closures and now warnings from RCMP for motorists to use extreme caution.

RCMP said a number of vehicles, including semi-trucks, have been found in ditches in parts of southern Manitoba, Saturday.

“It’s like a skating rink,” said St. Ambrose resident Tania Saltise. “It’s really slippery out there.”

Those skating-rink-like conditions forced RCMP to issue a travel advisory Friday night, and shut down Highway 1 from Brandon to the Saskatchewan Border.

East and westbound lanes were fully closed between Brandon and the Saskatchewan border until about 12:30 p.m., RCMP said.

The roadway was covered in ice, preventing safe travel through the area.

RCMP had closed Highway 1 between Winnipeg and Brandon Friday night but reopened that stretch or road before 11 a.m. Saturday.

Despite the roadway being reopened, RCMP continued to warn motorists of icy and slippery driving conditions throughout southern Manitoba, particularly on Highway 16 between Highway 10 and Russell.

Drivers in Winnipeg were also asked to exercise caution.

“It often seems when the weather hovers around zero, the weather conditions can change dramatically and quite quickly,” said Const. Eric Hofley with the Winnipeg police. “We ask motorists to pay attention.”

Slippery conditions were expected to continue throughout the night Saturday, as snow and ice that melted was expected to freeze.

“When you’re at this temperature, which is 4 C to -4 C, that’s prime conditions for black ice because of the freeze-thaw that’s going to be happening,” said Liz Peters of CAA Manitoba.

The forecast called for a dip in temperatures, with a forecast high of -6 C in the afternoon and an overnight low of -9 C Saturday.

Freezing rain was also forecast for parts of southern Manitoba.

If travel is a must, Peters advises motorists to adjust their speeds and keep their distance from other vehicles.

“In addition to driving a tiny bit slower and anticipating the car stopping in front of you – watching their break lights – leave a lot more distance between you and that car in front of you,” said Peters.

Experts recommend keeping a five car length distance between you and the car ahead of you in icy conditions.