The National Weather Service is predicting heavy snow Wednesday through Thursday and has declared a Winter Storm Watch for 27 northern and western Indiana counties. The rest of the state will see varying levels of snow and wintry mix.
The Indiana Department of Transportation urges drivers to monitor evolving weather forecasts as there is still some uncertainty as to the location and amount of snowfall.
INDOT maintenance supervisors will closely monitor temperatures and storm radar to deploy yellow salt trucks just before rain transitions to snow, sleet and ice on state highways. Trained employees are on call to plow interstates, U.S. highways and state routes around the clock with alternating shifts of 12 hours or more. Each plow route takes 2-3 hours to complete with salt assisting in melting between passes.
Weather forecasts are predicting winds gusting up to 40 mph and potential snow squalls, especially across northern Indiana, on Wednesday night into Thursday. Blowing snow reduces visibility and increases the chance for multi-vehicle crashes.
Drivers who encounter such storms should immediately take the following steps to improve safety:
- Before you depart, fully clear off your front and rear windshields and side mirrors.
- Choose direct routes instead of longer trips on higher-speed roads and highways.
- Take your foot off the gas and turn off cruise control, especially on high-speed highways. No one should be traveling at interstate speeds during winter weather. Law enforcement will be writing citations for drivers going faster than conditions merit and putting others in harm’s way.
- Use your low-beam lamps if your vehicle is equipped.
- Increase following distance so you can barely see the taillights of any vehicles in front of you.
- Turn on emergency flashers if you are stopped or traveling slower than other vehicles.
- If you need to stop, try to exit or turn off the main highway. If you must stop on the shoulders, pull as far away from the travel lanes as possible.
- Regularly fill your gas tank and charge your mobile phone.
- Apply anti-lock brakes firmly. Pump brakes that are not anti-lock.
- Do not overcorrect with steering.
There are several state resources that drivers can access to “know before you go”:
- Counties post travel advisories as new information is available to http://in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory or the Indiana Travel Advisory app for iPhone or Android.
- INDOT maintenance staff report color-coded winter driving conditions on INDOT’s TrafficWise map at http://indot.carsprogram.org. Road conditions are defined as: (1) Gray: Good, the road is clear (2) Blue: Fair, speed is reduced due to isolated patches of snow and ice, and (3) Violet: Difficult or hazardous, speed is reduced due to snow and/or ice covered pavement
- Dial INDOT’s hotline toll-free at 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) or 511 from a mobile phone.
- Find your regional INDOT district on Facebook and Twitter athttp://in.gov/indot/3074.htm.