Officials urging caution with weather expected to impact busy holiday travel
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. --- With the weather expected to ramp up, coupled with busy travel for New Year’s, and the potential for drinking and driving, officials fear the roadways could quickly turn deadly. Which is why law enforcement is asking everyone to do their part.
"There will be police from departments all across the state, working extra patrols hopefully to possibly deter people from drinking and driving and also just be out there to keep everybody safe,” said Sergeant Ted Bohner with the Indiana State Police.
Sergeant Bohner said with the potential for more impaired drivers and stronger weather possibly bringing rain, snow, and colder temperatures, they’re urging everyone to be extra vigilant.
“To those of us that will be out there driving sober, be a defensive driver, especially from late afternoon to probably very early tomorrow morning is the kind of the time when those potentially impaired drivers will be out there," said Sergeant Bohner.
Last year Indiana saw a jump in fatal crashes, with 813 total, and more than 70 of those in December alone. Something officials said they want to avoid as we ring in the new year.
"If you do see people that could be impaired that’s when you call 911, give a good vehicle description, the direction they are traveling, and then report it and hopefully we can stop what could potentially be a tragic situation,” urged Sergeant Bohner.
Experts estimated about 2.3 million Hoosiers will traveling be by car for the holidays, and they also encouraged everyone not to let distractions take your eyes off the road.
“The primary cause we see for accidents is usually either speed related, distracted driving. So, Indiana has a no mobile device law on the books now so put the phones down, pay attention to what you’re doing, drive the speed limit, watch for people around you. If you follow those guidelines you’ll be fine,” added Chief Operating Officer Rick Fedder for the Indiana Toll Road.
Experts said the busiest travel day is expected to be January 2 from 2-6 pm.
AAA's free Tow to Go program also runs through January 3 and is available to anyone who's had too much to drink and needs a safe way home.