White-out conditions snarl central Indiana traffic
Indiana State Police report over 170 calls about crashes or slide-offs before noon Wednesday in the Indianapolis area.
The entrance and exit ramp systems in the Indianapolis district remain extremely slick and hazardous and are becoming impassable as vehicles and semi trucks get stuck on them and block the ramps.
As of 1:10 p.m., I-465 WB was closed at Keystone due to a jack-knifed semi trailer. Lots of ramps closed throughout the metro area, too.
Johnson County reported 32 slide-offs.
Police are warning drivers who get stuck in the snow that they may have to wait a while before help arrives.
Sgt. Rich Myers told Eyewitness News in a telephone interview Wednesday morning that police are extremely busy dealing with crashes and slide-offs as a blizzard bears down on central Indiana.
Roads are hazardous and slippery, and drivers are being warned not to go out if they don't have to. The blizzard is creating white-out conditions on the roads, meaning you won't be able to see what color the traffic lights are until you're very close to the intersection. Stopping and starting up again require more time and distance, and not all drivers are heeding that advice.
Eyewitness News reporter Rich Van Wyk spoke to some tow truck drivers who felt it was too dangerous to go out on the roads Wednesday morning.
"If you absolutely have to travel, make sure you've got that cell phone with you. In case you do run into any emergency you can give 911 a call and we'll get you taken care of," said Sgt. Myers.
Emergency Management Agency directors tell Eyewitness News that the snow is falling faster than the roads can be cleared.
Driver after driver got stuck on ice along I-70 east at I-465, including several 18-wheelers.
At 9:16 a.m., both sides of State Road 37 were shut down near the Morgan/Monroe County line after up to 40 cars were involved in slide-offs or crashes. It will take several hours to pull cars out of the snow banks and reopen that stretch of road.
While Wayne County only had around three or four inches of snow at 9:30 a.m., blowing and drifting was becoming a danger.
"The biggest problem is the blowing. We got some high winds and the roads are really beginning to drift bad," said Ron Sharp with Wayne County Emergency Management.
There was little traffic in either direction at I-65 and Southport Road. Traffic was going no faster than 40 mph. INDOT plows were out, but they were having a hard time keeping up with the snow.
Chains are being placed on plow truck tires to help the drivers push the heavy, wet snow in Monroe County.
You can also call toll-free 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) for updated Indiana travel information, including road conditions, road closures, construction information, crashes and other traffic alerts.
INDOT asks drivers to promote their own safety and that of others by offering the following tips:
· ACCELERATE GRADUALLY on ice or snow to avoid slipping and sliding
· DRIVE SLOWLY and carefully to avoid rear-end collisions and sliding on curves
· ALLOW GREATER DISTANCE behind the car ahead; it takes more time to stop on snow and ice
· BRAKE EARLY, break slowly, never slam on the brakes; if you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it; if you don't, gently pump the pedal
· NO CRUISE CONTROL; avoid abrupt steering maneuvers
· MAINTAIN GOOD VISIBILITY, stay alert and use your headlights so others can see you
· GIVE SNOWPLOWS ROOM to operate; don't tailgate or try to pass
Stay tuned to Eyewitness News starting for the latest forecast updates.
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