Winter driving hazards

Friday, December 26, 2008

The ice coated roadways quickly on Tuesday, leaving motorists with travel anxiety.

Semi-truck drivers were stopping their rigs anywhere possible for the night.

Out-of-town motorists were left searching for a place to stay and wait out the storm.

There was no room at the Greencastle Inn, with all 15 rooms booked by weary travelers. The same held true for Econo Lodge, formerly America's Best Value Inn, in Cloverdale, which booked all 47 of its rooms to stranded motorists from the interstate.

Indiana Department of Transportation had a full crew out during most of the night, doing its best to combat the icy road conditions.

"This was a difficult storm to battle," said Debbie Calder of INDOT.

Cathy Steele from Steele's Auto and Wrecker Service in Cloverdale described Tuesday night as "miserable."

During a storm such as Tuesday's, there is nothing tow trucks can do to help stranded motorists, she explained. The ice will not allow a tow truck to pull a vehicle from a ditch (or anywhere else) without the truck sliding too. Steele did say their trucks were out Wednesday helping those who could not be rescued the night before.

"A majority of the traffic (Tuesday) drove safely," said Calder.

To ensure vehicles are ready for winter weather, Don Barnett, owner of Don's Garage in Greencastle, said properly inflated tires; good working brakes; quality windshield wiper blades and plenty of antifreeze will make traveling a little safer.

For a fee of $20, a complete check of those items including the vehicle's suspension can be done at his garage located on the left side of U.S. 231 North just passed the fairgrounds.

Culder said drivers need to remember to drive slowly on ice, but should try to stay home.

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