As Hoosiers across Indiana prepare to hit the road this weekend to celebrate the Christmas holiday with family and friends, presently we are being warned of forecasted severe winter weather conditions headed our way.  The impending severe weather is expected to include rain turning to ice, sub-zero temperatures, accumulating snow, sustained 30-40mph winds causing whiteout conditions, a sure recipe for trouble on our roadways.   

With that forecast in mind, the Indiana State Police is asking all Hoosiers to carefully consider the necessity for travel this weekend.  Keep a close eye on current weather conditions in your specific area, and if you must travel- please travel with due regard for your personal safety as well as the safety of other motorists.

In your planning, please consider the following suggestions for safe driving during extreme winter weather….

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order:
    • Check tire pressures and inspect for sufficient tread wear.
    • Headlights, taillights, turn signals, and windshield wipers, all in working order.
    • Proper engine oil & coolant levels, windshield fluid, etc.
    • Start off with a full tank of gas and try to maintain ½ tank plus at all times
    • Have an Emergency Kit on board, including blankets, water/snacks, flares, flashlight, charged cell phone, etc.
  • Plan for extra drive time to get to your destination- hours not minutes.
  • Clear all windows, mirrors, headlights, and taillights of ice & snow before, and if necessary, during your commute….BE ABLE TO SEE, and BE SEEN!
  • Wear your seatbelt and ensure all passengers are properly restrained.
  • Beware of bridges and overpasses where ice tends to form first.
  • Avoid using your cruise control on ice- and snow-covered roads.
  • INCREASE following distance.
  • DECREASE your travel speed for better control and better reaction time.
  • DON’T DRIVE DISTRACTED– put the phones in the glove box!
  • MOVE OVER and, or SLOW DOWN for emergency vehicles, snowplows, and highway service vehicles,……. It’s the law!

The most common cause for vehicle crashes and slide-offs during snow or icy weather is speed too fast for the existing road conditions. Slick roads do not cause vehicle crashes, rather unsafe driving behavior on those slick roads is typically the cause. With that in mind, please plan your commute accordingly and give yourself plenty of time to make your destination.

The Indiana State Police Fort Wayne Post will have extra troopers out on patrol over the holiday weekend, especially during the forecasted periods of severe weather. 

If you find yourself involved in a minor crash or slide-off, or if your vehicle becomes disabled and stranded-

  • Utilize your hazard lights for safety (or flares if so equipped).
  • Stay buckled up in your vehicle.
  • Call 911 for assistance.
  • If the engine is not disabled, keep it running to provide heat. 
  • Utilize your onboard *Emergency Kit supplies until help arrives.   

(If your vehicle becomes disabled on a State/Federal/Interstate highway, please arrange to have it removed immediately. Any abandoned vehicles that are impeding traffic or the ability of INDOT snowplows to clear the roadways safely and effectively, those vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense.)

Again, please plan your trip accordingly, continue to monitor weather conditions along your route, drive carefully, and have a safe and Merry Christmas!!