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The Journal Gazette

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Saturday, January 12, 2019 7:55 am

Snowfall has INDOT urging caution

The Journal Gazette

The Indiana Department of Transportation has deployed snow trucks throughout northeast Indiana ahead of an expected 1 to 6 inches of snowfall.

The department is urging caution while traveling this weekend as it works to clear roads in the Fort Wayne District, servicing 17 counties.

Crews will be working 12-hour shifts to clear and treat the roadways.

Snow truck tips

It's always safest behind the plow.

Don't crowd the plow. The front of the plow extends many feet in front of the truck. It may cross the centerline and shoulders while plowing.

Don't assume the plow driver can see you. A plow driver's field of vision is very limited – you may see them, but they may not be able to see you.

Don't tailgate or stop too close behind a plow. Plow trucks are usually releasing salt from the back of the truck. Often, the trucks stop or take evasive action – to avoid a stranded vehicle or animal.

Snow plows create a cloud of snow that reduces visibility. Don't travel too closely – leave four to five car-lengths ahead.

Use caution to pass. Try not to travel beside a plow for too long – when plowing through a snow drift or packed snow, the impact can move the plow trucks sideways. If you have to pass a plow, do so on the left side – plows typically move snow to the right as lanes are cleared. They also turn and exit the road frequently.

Snowplows travel slower. Plow trucks travel approximately 30-35 mph when they're removing snow and ice. Allow plenty of time to stop or slow down when you're behind a snow truck.

Driver tips

Drivers often aren't prepared for winter driving and forget to take it slow – especially since this is the first major snow this winter. The first snow events of the season typically bring higher rates of crashes and slide-offs as motorists get re-accustomed to driving in winter conditions.

Reduce speeds. Never drive interstate speeds in winter weather.

Plan plenty of time to reach your destination safely and be patient. 

Keep a safe distance. Do not tailgate, especially around snow plows, and try not to pass.

Pay attention. Avoid all distractions and focus only on the task of driving safely. Be aware of your surroundings, drive defensively.

Know before you go

Before deciding to drive, check road and traffic conditions at http://indot.carsprogram.org or 800-261-ROAD (7623) or the INDOT mobile app. County governments post color-coded travel advisories on the Homeland Security website at http://in.gov/dhs/traveladvisory.