Drivers will be sharing the roads with snow plows this weekend

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The Indiana Department of Transportation expects to have a full call-out of plows as it prepares to battle this weekend’s anticipated winter storm. In addition to the state-wise effort areas counties and cities will have crews on snow clean-up duty, as well.

St. Joseph County Highway has the following plan in place:

  • Saturday, January 19th – Day shift crews will be in at 7 am to plow and salt (51 plow trucks) (8 hour shift)
  • Saturday, January 19th – Night shift crews will be in at 4 pm to plow and salt (20 plow trucks) (8 hour shift)
  • Sunday, January 20th – Day shift crews will be in at 7 am to plow and salt (51 plow trucks) (4 hour shift)
  • Sunday, January 20th – Night shift crews will be in at 4 pm to begin cleanup (8 hour shift)
  • Monday, January 21st – Day shift crews will continue clean up

Forecasters are predicting the system will enter the region from the west on Friday night, Jan. 18, tapering off by sometime Saturday afternoon with an anticipated 3-6 inches of accumulation possible. A secondary lake effect system is also expected to impact the northwest portion of the district. All this will be followed by frigid temperatures/wind chill factors.

High winds are expected to accompany this event, which can cause significant challenges for drivers. Avoid unnecessary travel. However, if travel is a must, please keep the following in mind:

  • Reduce speeds. Remember, “ice and snow, take it slow.” Nobody should be driving interstate speeds in winter weather.
  • Plan plenty of time to reach your destination safely and be patient. Don’t put yourself and others in a dangerous situation by being in a rush.
  • Keep a safe distance. Make sure your vehicle is following at a safe distance to stop. Do not tailgate, especially around snow plows, and try not to pass.
  • Pay attention. Avoid all distractions and focus only on the task of driving safely. Be aware of your surroundings, drive defensively and be alert for others who are not driving safely.

Also, remember it’s always safest behind the plow.

  • Don’t crowd the plow. The front of the plow extends many feet in front of the truck. It may cross the centerline and shoulders while plowing.
  • Don’t assume the plow driver can see you. A plow driver’s field of vision is very limited — you may see them, but they may not be able to see you.
  • Don’t tailgate or stop too close behind a plow. Plow trucks are usually releasing salt from the back of the truck. Often, the trucks stop or take evasive action (to avoid a stranded vehicle or animal). Snow plows create a cloud of snow that reduces visibility. Don’t travel too closely — leave four to five car-lengths ahead.
  • Use caution to pass. Try not to travel beside a plow for too long — when plowing through a snow drift or packed snow, the impact can move the plow trucks sideways. If you have to pass a plow, do so on the left side — plows typically move snow to the right as lanes are cleared. They also turn and exit the road frequently.
  • Snowplows travel slower. Plow trucks travel approximately 30-35 mph when they’re removing snow and ice. Allow plenty of time to stop or slow down when you’re behind one of our yellow trucks.

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