Chesterton Tribune



ISP: Avoid stupid driving behaviors or don't drive at all during this snowstorm

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The Indiana State Police is reminding motorists--as the season’s next storm approaches the region--that winter weather doesn’t cause traffic accidents.

Bad driving decisions and skills cause traffic accidents.

“Warnings about hazardous driving conditions will be issued by city, county, and state law enforcement as well as by local and national media,” the ISP said in a statement released today. “Many will heed the warnings. Many more will ignore the warnings. With another major storm approaching, the Indiana State Police, again, reminds motorists to limit travel when possible. If travel is not necessary, then stay home.”

“Most calls for service received by the Indiana State Police and other police agencies during winter storms are for crashes and motorists that slide off state roads and interstates,” the ISP added. “It is important to remember that snow and ice covered roads do not cause crashes. The crashes are caused by unsafe driving on the snow and ice covered roadway.”

For those who must travel in bad weather, the ISP offers these tips:

¥Leave sooner and expect your travel time to be twice as long as normal.

¥Drive slower.

¥Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you by at least five times greater than normal.

¥Approach intersections with great care. Other drivers not paying attention will slide through red lights.

¥Signal all lane changes and turning movements.

“The posted speed limit may be more than twice as fast as the reduced speed drivers should travel to reduce the possibility of a collision or loss of control that puts a vehicle into a retaining wall, ditch, or another motorist,” the ISP said.

Indiana Codes 9-21-5-1 specifies that “Speed shall be restricted as necessary to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle, or other conveyance on, near or entering a highway.”

“Motorists losing control of their vehicle or who are involved in a crash resulting in a police report should expect to be cited for this offense, which carries a maximum fine of $500,” the ISP said.

“If you are involved in a crash, are uninjured, and all vehicles are drivable, involved drivers should move to a safe place completely off the road, be it the next exit or to the parking lot of a business, to await law enforcement response for a police report,” the ISP said. “It is important to remember that crashes involving injury or lane blockage receive priority attention ahead of property damage crashes. So keep in mind that it may be an extended period of time before law enforcement arrives.”

The whole reason for moving drivable vehicles off the road after an accident, the ISP added, “is to avoid secondary crashes of other inattentive motorists crashing into your scene or sideswiping you if you’ve only moved to the side of the road.”

And there’s something else to keep in mind, the ISP said: “Crash scenes with vehicles disabled in the roadway and state police presence may have the state police vehicle facing the wrong way with emergency lights and headlights on. This is to warn approaching motorists of impending danger.”

And remember this as well: Indiana’s Move Over Law states motorists must change lanes away from the emergency or utility vehicle if they can do it safely.

If not possible to move away from the emergency vehicle, motorists must slow down and proceed with caution. “Please give us room to work,” the ISP said. “We are asking motorists to slow down and/or move over when safe to do so.”

Vehicles included in the Move Over law are police vehicles, ambulances., fire trucks and rescue equipment, highway incident-response vehicles, highway work vehicles including snow plows, and tow trucks.

More: “The point of not calling police agencies for road information during snow emergencies cannot be overstressed. Calling police departments about road conditions may delay action on critical life emergency 911 calls. Road conditions are likely the same for the area you want to know about as they are looking out your front window.”

Citizens calling state police facilities to ask for road conditions will be directed to either call the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Road and Weather automated system at (800) 262-7623 or visit the INDOT traffic map at

The 800 phone service is voice activated and updated with timely road conditions across Indiana. The INDOT web link allows users to check on specific locations for current closures and other road information.

For Indiana county travel status reports, visit



Posted 2/4/2014