Travel watches, advisories issued for Michiana counties – WNDU-TV

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  • Monitor weather forecasts
  • 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.

  • High winds, snow squalls
  • 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 over correct with steering.

  • Know before you go
  • INDOT maintenance staff report color-coded winter driving conditions on INDOT’s TrafficWise map. 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 at this link.

    Here are the items the Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security says you should keep in your car as an emergency kit:

    Prepare a winter emergency kit for your vehicle. Supplies should include:

    –At least two blankets or a sleeping bag
    –Flashlight or battery-powered lantern and extra batteries
    –Booster (jumper) cables
    –Emergency flares
    –Extra clothing, particularly boots, hats and mittens
    –A steel shovel and rope to use as a lifeline
    –Bottled water or juice and nonperishable high-energy foods (granola bars, raisins, nuts, peanut butter or cheese crackers)
    –Thermos or container that won’t allow liquids to freeze
    –First-aid kit and necessary medications
    –Sand or non-clumping cat litter for tire traction if your vehicle gets stuck in snow or ice
    –A cell phone and charger which can be adapted to vehicle use
    –Ice scraper and snow brush
    –Tire repair kit and pump
    –Candle, matches, heat sticks/packs, lighters, hand-warmers, etc. (Be sure to crack the window if you using a heat source inside the vehicle)

    The IDHS says to lock your vehicle, even in bad weather. If locks freeze, heat the key. Do not pour hot water on the locks – they will refreeze.

    If you do become stranded:

    –Remain calm. Chances for rescue are better if you remain calm and in your vehicle.
    –Do not leave your car, it is the best protection you have.
    –Run the engine for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm. An idling car only uses about one gallon of gas per hour.
    –If you don’t have a cell phone to call for help, tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna for rescuers to see.
    –Light a flare or turn on a flashlight to let others know you’re stranded in the vehicle snowbank
    –Keep the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen (remember to keep the windows cracked).
    –Keep the exhaust pipe free of blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
    –Use floor mats, seat covers and blankets for added warmth. If you must leave your vehicle during a severe snow storm or blizzard, secure a line of rope or cod to yourself and the vehicle to avoid becoming lost or disoriented.
    –Keep bottled water in your vehicle emergency kit. Never eat snow. It will chill you and lower your body temperature.

Travel watches, advisories issued for Michiana counties – WNDU-TV