“Sometimes it's a shock to the system when the first snow hits,” said Sgt. Ron Galaviz of the Indiana State Police. “Maybe folks are just not overly, consciously thinking about it. I think there's a misconception at times where people think it's the weather causing these crashes, it's not their driving. Well, it's the other way around.”
State police urge drivers to follow theset tips before hitting the road:
♦Check the forecast. Let someone know your destination and route. Make sure to have a full gas tank.
♦Have a winter driving kit, complete with blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, a bright cloth, sand or cat litter, a shovel, a candle and matches, nonperishable high-calorie food, a first-aid kit, jumper cables and a cell phone, which could be vital in the cold in a stranded vehicle.
♦Always drive according to the road conditions, Galaviz said, to limit loss of control and accidents.
“The speed limit on State Road (Indiana) 3 … is 60 mph,” Galaviz explained. “If you've got a foot of snow and a foot of ice underneath it, you can't drive 60 mph. Sometimes when people spin out in the median, you're citing them for speeding too fast and … they think, ‘Well, I'm not qualifying for the Indy 500.' No, we're not suggesting that you are. Even though the speed limit is 60, even if you're going 40, for this condition, 40 is too fast. We urge drivers to drive according to the conditions.”
♦Make sure a vehicle's windows are clear and pay extra attention under bridges and overpasses, where ice and snow melts slower.
♦The No.1 suggestion the state police offer, though, is to simply slow down.
“We're really trying to strive to reduce the number of crashes, especially the personal injury and fatality crashes,” Galaviz said. “We started really cracking down on causational crashes - speed, following too close, failing to yield a right of way. By and large, it's due to driver error, speed and not allowing themselves enough following distance.”
When snow falls, they'll be readyThe Allen County Highway Department spent the last week of October and first week of November preparing for snow or ice that will settle on the county's 1,300 miles of highway this winter. The department's fleet includes five graders, 16 tandem-axle dump trucks, 15 single-axle dump trucks and six 1-ton dump trucks.
The county is divided into north and south districts, with 12 zones in each. Each zone will have at least one truck. Graders are assigned to gravel roads, areas with large snowdrifts and for the clearing of berms.
The anti-icing materials used are sand, rock, salt, calcium chloride and stone chips. A sand-salt mixture will be used on most roads, calcium chloride mixed with sand and salt will be used on roads that need to be cleared to bare pavement, and stone chips will be used on gravel roads when they become slippery. On higher-traffic county highways, liquid calcium chloride will be applied along with a salt-sand mixture.
-By Drew Stone of The News-Sentinel