Since winter weather can turn severe at a moment’s notice, the Indiana Department of Transportation is urging motorists to be prepared ahead of time. They say when it comes to bad weather, remember the phrase, “Ice and snow, take it slow!”
INDOT Plymouth Sub-district Operations Manager Stacy Flick says snowplow drivers are ready to keep the roads clear, but there are a few steps motorists can take to make their jobs a little easier and safer. “Just be more visible and give them a break,” he says. “Slow down, and I just can’t tell you enough about speed. That’s where we all get into mistakes, whether it be our drivers or the motoring public. You’ve got to drive to the conditions, so just be careful when you see the yellow trucks.”
INDOT recommends checking weather conditions before leaving home, removing snow from your vehicle’s windows and lights, and checking your tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts, and hoses to prevent breakdowns during dangerous weather.
Flick says INDOT also puts a lot of planning into its snow removal efforts, “When it snows out, it’s not just go turn the button on and spread salt. There’s dry snows, wet snows, slick snows, not-so-slick snows, wind, everything becomes a factor, and that gives us the opportunity to use these other tools that we have, which is the Beet Heet, the brine. And there’s different times and places that we use that, and we’ve got to make a management decision on where we’re going to put it, when we’re going to put it, why we’re going to put it.”
He says different conditions require different tools, “The rock salt stays longer; that’s why we use the combination. The rock salt doesn’t even get activated until it gets wet when snow has moisture. So when you spray the brine on it, it starts immediately, fast-acting, starting melting snow and ice. But it’ll go down to ten degrees, five degrees and then it kind of just sits there, and that’s why we’ve got to use the other, hotter agricultural products to get the melting action.”
In spite of these efforts, INDOT says drivers still need to be on the lookout for black ice, especially near intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady areas. They also say, even if your vehicle has four-wheel drive, you should still slow down because even though it helps you accelerate faster, you won’t be able to stop any sooner.
For more winter driving tips, visit WinterDrivingSafety.in.gov.