INDOT planning for intense, blowing snow, low temps

Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS – The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for most of northern and central Indiana, predicting up to 6 inches of snow followed by high winds.
Indiana Department of Transportation maintenance supervisors are closely monitoring local forecasts as there is some uncertainty about the track of this clipper system. INDOT will deploy its yellow salt trucks ahead of any predicted accumulation on Indiana’s interstates, U.S. highways and state routes.
INDOT will adjust its call-out of manpower, trucks and materials as appropriate to address changes in forecasted and observed road conditions. Trained INDOT employees are on call to staff plow trucks around the clock with alternating 12- to 16-hour shifts.
For social media updates, find the INDOT Facebook and Twitter pages for your regional district at: www.in.gov/indot/3074.htm
Low temperatures
With temperatures dipping into the single digits and below zero, road salt has to work harder to melt accumulated snow and ice. This increases the chances for “black ice” or “slick spots” that are difficult for drivers to distinguish from dry pavement. Even four-wheel-drive vehicles and large trucks are no match if all tires are on ice.
There are several steps that drivers can take to minimize the risk of losing control on icy roads:
Know before you go by checking the red-yellow-green traffic speeds on your mobile map app or http://indot.carsprogram.org.
Choose direct routes instead of longer routes on higher-speed arterials.
Take your foot off the gas and slow down gradually, especially on high-speed highways.
Turn off cruise control.
Apply anti-lock brakes firmly when encountering ice. Pump brakes that are not anti-lock. Do not over-correct with steering.
Intense snow then wind
Strong winds during the day on Tuesday will reduce visibility for drivers. INDOT crews will take steps to prevent blowing snow from sticking or drifting onto cleared highways.
INDOT urges drivers to reschedule optional trips as road conditions will be the worst during these times. If you must venture out, below are some driving tips when visibility is reduced:
Before you depart, fully clear off your front and rear windshields and side mirrors.
Take your foot off the gas and slow down gradually, especially on high-speed highways. No one should be traveling at interstate speeds during these conditions.
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.
Try to exit or turn off the main highway when stopping. If you must stop on the shoulders, pull as far away from the travel lanes as possible.
New plow equipment
Drivers should watch for six new tow plows in use on multi-lane interstates, U.S. highways and state roads. Already used in northeast Indiana and 22 other states, a tow plow allows one plow truck and driver to clear two lanes at once.
INDOT is accepting delivery of six new tow plows and training staff for deployment on the four-lane state highways listed below. The equipment may be redeployed to other parts of the state as needed this winter.
Interstate 74 between Indianapolis and Greensburg (2)
Interstate 469 and U.S. 24 northeast of Fort Wayne
U.S. 24 and State Road 25 Hoosier Heartland near Logansport
The new U.S. 31 freeway near Kokomo
U.S. 52 between Lafayette and Lebanon
Drivers should not attempt to pass a tow plow if all lanes are blocked, but stay a safe distance and speed behind the plows. Road conditions are always better behind a plow at work than in front.