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Winter storm in Indiana: How to drive safely in the snow

Aug 14, 2023Aug 14, 2023

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published in February 2021.

When a winter storm lands in Central Indiana, it reminds Hoosiers that a 30-minute drive can quickly become an hour-long commute under the right, or wrong, circumstances.

But along with the inconvenience, the slick roads and low visibility can prove treacherous when motorists decide to ignore the reality of winter and continue to speed down I-65 like it's the middle of summer.

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With that in mind, local police are once again giving people the best advice about how to safely get from point A to point B this week: Slow down. No matter what you're driving and how prepared you think your ride is.

Getting every other driver on the road to actually ease up on the gas is easier said than done, but there are a number of other quick and easy things you can do to stay safe on the road this winter.

Here are a few winter driving tips from AAA Exchange and the Indiana State Police.

Indiana Farmers Insurance also recommends keeping an ice scraper, a portable phone charger, a blanket, jumper cables, a flashlight, batteries, water, food and a bag of sand in your vehicle.

State police say equal attention should be paid to vehicles before you even start your winter commute.

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Be sure to refill antifreeze, check brakes, replace wiper blades, refill washer fluid and check the health of your battery during the colder months. Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent gas line freezing, and make sure your tires are in good condition.

Police remind people that adding weight to the back of your vehicle may alter its handling capabilities.

They also remind drivers not to decrease tire pressure to increase traction. The only thing doing so increases is wear on the tires.

Story continues below the gallery.

In inclement weather, getting stranded is a possibility. Here's what to do, according to the Indiana State Police.

One way to drive safer is to know what to expect across the state. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security keeps tabs on travel statuses for every county in the state.

A yellow travel advisory is the lowest alert, alerting drivers to potential hazards that may restrict routine travel or activities.

An orange travel watch means conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. During a "watch" local travel advisory, only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended, and emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies and other organizations.

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The red travel warning is the highest form of alert. It means travel may be restricted to emergency management workers only.

During a "warning" local travel advisory, individuals are directed to refrain from all travel; comply with necessary emergency measures; cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans; and obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers.

Hoosiers can keep track of travel statuses by visiting

Call IndyStar reporter Justin L. Mack at 317-444-6138. Follow him on Twitter: @justinlmack.

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