Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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February 4, 2014

Unsafe driving causes winter weather crashes

“Indiana’s next blast of winter weather is upon us,” note Indiana State Police leaders at the Indianapolis headquarters. Warnings about hazardous driving conditions will be issued by city, county and state law enforcement as well as by local and national media.

Many will heed the warnings. Many more will ignore the warnings. With another major storm approaching, the Indiana State Police, again, remind motorists to limit travel when possible. If travel is not necessary, then stay home. Most calls for service received by ISP and other police agencies during winter storms are for crashes and motorists who slide off state roads and interstates. 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 roads.

If you choose to drive during poor or hazardous driving conditions you must:

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

2. Drive slower

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

4. Approach intersections with great care; other drivers not paying attention will slide through red lights

5. 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. Indiana code 9-21-5-1 specifies, “Speed shall be restricted as necessary to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle or other conveyance on, near or entering a highway.” A motorist losing control of a vehicle or who is involved in a crash resulting in a police report should expect to be cited for this offense, which carries a maximum fine of $500.

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