INDOT, Indiana State Police urge caution on snowy roads as season's first winter weather moves in

Hoosiers prep vehicles for cold conditions

INDIANAPOLIS - Both the state and city say they're ready to keep the roads clear as Indiana faces its biggest winter weather situation in some time.

The city has called out 90 truck drivers, with another 90 ready to go Thursday night at 11.
 
The state says it's prepared as well. Crews have checked the trucks and equipment, and the salt barns are fully loaded. 

But both sides are hedging their bets a little, because they're uncertain how bad it's going to get and when things will turn nasty.

The state says it will have trucks out before the pavement temperature drops to 32 degrees, but for now it's not planning a full call-out of its drivers.

"At this point we don't anticipate things to get so bad that we'll need a full call-out," said INDOT spokesman Nathan Riggs. "But we will be bringing in the regular night shift with probably a few supplemental drivers just to make sure that things stay in good shape throughout the night."

INDOT is putting out a special request for drivers to drive extra carefully, even more carefully than normal on the first day of hazardous conditions. 

"The first snowfall of any season is typically a little more dangerous than usual as people re-learn how to drive in those conditions," Riggs said. "This year being even more so, because it's been basically two years since we've had a good snowfall."

Indiana State Police echoed INDOT's warning, urging drivers to take it slow and keep their distance.

"We recommend at least two to three seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you, but that's for driving (in) perfect weather conditions," said Sgt. Rich Myers. "So, it it's raining, you allow a little more. If it's snowing, allow a lot more."

Many drivers are gearing up for the winter weather by getting their cars checked out.

At All Star Tire and Auto Service, they've had a steady stream of drivers getting their cars checked, especially with the winter weather approaching and holiday travel coming up.

Small preparations like checking your battery can make a huge difference, said Chris Cooper, with All Star Tire.

"Air pressure's big, of course," Cooper said. "It helps you save on your gas. If you have chains, make sure your keep them in your car so you can put them on. It gives you a better grip."

Some vehicles might need different tires. Experts say a good way to check a tire is to get a penny, turn it upside down and put it on the tire, and if the tread is below Lincoln's head, it's time for a replacement.

"It's very serious because if you don't have a traction or a good tread, you will not grip the road and your tires just spin, and it can cause an accident or you're just going to sit and spin and  not go anywhere," Cooper said.

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