We see it often during the winter months. A car or truck slides off the road or into another vehicle during icy conditions on the Bitterroot valley roads.

An accident Wednesday morning near Al's Cycle north of Hamilton brought out the Montana Highway Patrol, the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office, the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital and the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department.

The emergency vehicles all cluster around the accident scene in such cases, and some of the first responders direct traffic around the scene.

One difference for me this time - I was on US 93, almost at Veteran's Bridge on the north end of Hamilton, and my cellphone beeped. I had just pulled off the road to let a fire truck by, so I looked. It was a notification from the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office that US 93 was partially blocked, and if possible, use another route.

An hour later, another notification came across that the road was clear.

The sheriff's app on the phone was used during the Roaring Lion Fire this past summer and has led to an even better notification system being introduced to the Bitterroot Valley.

It if works like the notifications I received Wednesday morning, I'm a believer.

Here's the story on the new system.