On the Beat in Bluffton

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hazardous Driving Conditions

Indiana State Police Release:

This information pertains to the Pendleton District of the Indiana State Police, which includes Delaware, Fayette, Henry, Madison, Randolph, Rush, Union and Wayne counties.

Heavy snow has fallen particularly north of SR 32, that combined with strong winds have created white-out conditions reducing visibility to nearly zero in open areas.

Troopers have investigated a several slide-offs and crashes last night, and this morning primarily on I-69 in Delaware and Madison counties, and I-70 in Henry and Wayne counties.

Current road conditions within the Pendleton District are as follows:

* I-69 in Madison and Delaware Counties (13-52 mile-markers): driving and passing lanes are snow covered and slick. Use caution on bridges, underpasses and ramps.
* I-70 in Henry and Wayne Counties (113-156 mile-markers): driving and passing lanes are snow covered and slick. Use caution on bridges, underpasses and ramps.
* U.S. and State highways are snow covered and slick. Use caution on bridges, underpasses and ramps.
* Secondary roads (county roads) are snow covered and slick, and in some counties in the northern portion of the Pendleton District (north of SR 32) may be impassable.

Please ask motorists not to call the state police posts or other law enforcement agencies to ask what the road conditions are.

We need to leave our phone lines open for emergency calls. Motorists can access road and weather information by visiting INDOT's web siteTrafficWise.IN.gov or dial 800-261-ROAD (7623).

Another excellent source for the public and media to check on county snow emergency declarations is the Indiana Department of Homeland Security web site which is frequently updated: www.in.gov/dhs/files/travel-advisory-map/

When motorists encounter our troopers on the side of an interstate, US highway, or state highway with their patrol vehicle's emergency lights on, they are attempting to warn motorists of a crash or slide-off ahead. In an effort to reduce secondary crashes, troopers strategically space their patrol vehicles apart prior to the affected area. This is to warn motorists to reduce speed, and move to the adjacent lane of travel where the crash located. This procedure is also applied in traffic back ups caused by crashes not only in inclement weather, but throughout the year.

Historically our troopers witness the motorist's reduction in speed, and then accelerate as they pass beyond the trooper, only to encounter another trooper. Most generally the motorist is involved in a crash or slide-off, creating an additional danger for themselves and others. We are asking all motorists, including commercial vehicle drivers (semi-tractor trailer drivers) to pay attention when encountering this procedure, and slow down.

There may be lane restrictions and traffic back-ups while troopers investigate slide-offs and crashes in other areas. Use caution and reduce speed, particularly when approaching troopers who are assisting motorists, and highway service vehicles.

Reminder: Snow and ice covered roads do not cause crashes, and slide-offs: careless driving does.

Motorists please use the following cautions when driving:

* Clear all windows, head/tail lamps of snow and ice
* Turn headlights on, even in the daylight hours
* Reduce speed
* Be aware of sudden stops
* Keep distance between vehicles, don't tailgate
* Hang up cell phones, and drive with caution
* Buckle up
* MOVE OVER, SLOW DOWN when approaching emergency and highway service vehicles.

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