— With the chance of snow and high winds in the forecast for much of the state starting this afternoon and going into Friday, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is encouraging all motorists to check the statewide travel advisory map before venturing onto roadways.
The map is continually updated with travel advisory information as reported by each county. It is available online at http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/travel-advisory-map/. The map is updated with information from counties and describes the conditions for a travel warning, watch, advisory, and caution.
“It’s important that motorists are aware of any travel restrictions in their area before leaving home,” IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott said in a press release. “The statewide travel advisory map is an excellent resource for keeping Hoosiers informed.”
The page also has links to the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Traffic Wise information.
A travel advisory is notification that road conditions are hazardous and will impede motorists’ ability to travel. A travel advisory at a “warning” level means the general public is to stay off the roadways to keep routes clear for emergency personnel. Under a “watch” level, road conditions are still dangerous, and only essential travel is recommended.
The National Weather Service has forecasted sustained winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour and gusts of up to 50 mph for most of the state. Periods of moderate to heavy precipitation, along with high winds, can cause poor visibility and difficult travel conditions.
Those traveling in high-profile vehicles such as trucks, vans, sport utility vehicles, or towing a trailer should take extra care, as these are more prone to being pushed or flipped by high winds.
Hoosiers should also consider bringing holiday decorations, such as inflatable displays, inside during the next few days.
Those considering going out onto the roads should check the weather forecast and traffic information before leaving. IDHS also recommends carrying a small disaster kit with blankets, extra water, a small shovel, and other items that may be helpful if you find yourself in trouble on the road.
If you become stranded:
— Do not leave your car, it is the best protection you have.
— Keep the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen (remember to keep the windows cracked).
— Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna for rescuers to see.
— Run the engine for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm. Remember, an idling car uses only one gallon of gas per hour.
— Keep the exhaust pipe free of blockage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
For more information on winter travel safety, visit the website at getprepared.in.gov.