The National Weather Service has declared an ice storm warning beginning at 4 p.m. for central Indiana counties following a northwesterly line along I-70 and I-69 between Terre Haute and Muncie, including all Indianapolis metro counties. A combination of sleet, snow and freezing rain is predicted for the remainder of central and southern Indiana with a few inches of snow in the state’s northern counties.
The Indiana Department of Transportation is deploying its yellow salt trucks to treat Indiana’s interstates, U.S. highways and state routes ahead of the storm system moving across the state. Trained INDOT employees are on call to staff plow trucks around the clock with alternating 12- to 16-hour shifts.
A few degrees can mean the difference between rain, freezing rain or snow, so ice can be difficult for forecasters to pinpoint. INDOT uses our statewide network of road and bridge pavement sensors and reports from law enforcement and the public to supplement local weather forecasts. As there are changes in forecasted and observed road conditions, our maintenance supervisors adjust their call-out of manpower, trucks and materials and shift resources as appropriate.
For social media updates, find the INDOT Facebook and Twitter pages for your regional district at: www.in.gov/indot/3074.htm
Ice is most difficult
Ice can be the most difficult road conditions for drivers to navigate and plow crews to treat because four-wheel-drive vehicles and large trucks are no match if all tires are on ice. A clear sheen of ice can also be hard for drivers to distinguish from dry pavement.
Residual salt deployed during recent storms is still visible on many state highways. Granular salt deployed before and during the storm helps to add traction while lowering the temperature at which the ice melts.
INDOT urges drivers to avoid all travel during and after winter storms as road conditions will be the worst during these times. If you must venture out, there are several steps that drivers can take to minimize the risk of losing control on icy roads:
- Consult local weather forecasts to determine the latest timing and location of the storm.
- Know before you go by checking the red-yellow-green traffic speeds on your map app or http://indot.carsprogram.org and the Indiana county travel advisory map at http://in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security also offers a mobile version of the Travel Advisory map through the iTunes and Google Play stores.
- Choose direct routes instead of longer routes on higher-speed highways.
- Watch how salt trucks, emergency vehicles and other drivers are responding to the weather as visual cues for driving habits. Stay a safe distance and speed behind a plow at work as road conditions are always better behind one than in front.
- Take your foot off the gas and slow down gradually, especially on high-speed highways. No one should be traveling at interstate speeds during these conditions.
- Increase following distance and turn off cruise control.
- Apply anti-lock brakes firmly when encountering ice. Pump brakes that are not anti-lock. Do not overcorrect with steering