State Police urge caution before snowfall

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Indianapolis (February 24, 2016) - Indiana State Police are urging drivers across central Indiana to be prepared and cautious as all-day rain changes over to snow Wednesday evening.

“The major problem is we get people who want to, or think they need to go somewhere,” said State Police Trooper Mike Meinczinger.  “And what they do is they’re really not capable of driving in the elements.”

Meinczinger hopes Hoosiers can avoid a repeat of the Valentine’s Day snow storm in which a couple inches of snow resulted in multiple crashes and backup closing interstates in the Indianapolis area.  At one point, Meinczinger says he responded to three separate crashes within two tenths of a mile of each other.

Just because the speed limit is 55, he says, drivers still need to slow down and adjust to the conditions.

“No one wants to slow down, you’ve got to watch your following distance.  You’ve got to give yourself plenty of room to stop safely,” Meinczinger said.

This incoming weather system could prove difficult for drivers and INDOT crews hoping to keep traffic flowing.  Rainfall changing over to snow means INDOT trucks can’t do a lot of pre-treating of roadways.

“We can’t really go out there and lay the salt down on the roadways because that rain would just wash the salt away,” said INDOT Spokesman Nathan Riggs.  “So we have to be very very intentional about the timing at which we’re laying the salt down.”

Riggs said INDOT drivers will try to start dropping salt in the narrow window when snow starts to fall, but the pavement has not dropped below freezing.

Meinczinger says drivers need to take personal responsibility for their own safety, rather than relying solely on state, county and city road crews.

“Yes, State Highway is going to be out here,” he said.  “They’re going to do the job to the best of their ability.  But that’s not guaranteeing that they’re going to be able to find every slick spot out here on the interstate.”

If you are in an accident, State Police urge you to stay in your vehicle to avoid putting yourself at risk of being hit by another vehicle traveling on the same slick conditions.

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