INDOT’s Hoosier Helpers prepare to help stranded motorists during winter storm

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation’s Hoosier Helpers are gearing up for a busy weekend.

Hoosier Helpers assist stranded motorists on Indiana interstates. During weather events like the one expected this weekend, they can often come into two to three motorists per hour.

“Anytime we have weather come in like that and anything else, I don’t plan on doing lunch, I don’t plan on doing a break. That’s just my mind set,” Aaron Thomas said.

During last weekend’s storm, state police say they responded to more than 150 crashes and slide-offs. Hoosier Helpers were often responding to those incidents with them.

Thomas says most slide-offs and accidents Helpers see are caused by drivers going too fast for the conditions. Because each situation is different, Helpers carry a wide assortment of tools and equipment to help each situation.

“You don’t know if you’re changing a tire, you don’t know if you’re dragging something out of the road way, you don’t know if you’re giving CPR to somebody,” Thomas said.

Thomas said a large part of a Helper’s job this weekend will be to help get stranded motorists off the road as quickly as possible.

As part of the effort to keep the roadways clear, state police announced Thursday that all vehicles left along the highway will be subject to being towed regardless of how long they’ve been there.

“It’s just not safe. That’s one more barrier somebody can potentially hit if they lose control on the hazardous road,” ISP Sgt. John Perrine said.

ISP is asking people to avoid being on the roads if they can on Saturday. If driving is completely necessary, police say they hope drivers take their time and keep their safety and the safety of others in mind.

“Bottom line, don’t drive like a knucklehead,” Perrine said.

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