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December 6, 2013

Winter storm causing driving nightmares

Many slide-offs reported, basketball games canceled; 2 dead in Indiana

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Old Man Winter took the form of a femme fatale Friday — so beautiful, but very dangerous.

Rain, sleet, freezing rain, ice, snow, Clark and Floyd counties got the variety pack throughout the day, making the afternoon commute very dangerous. With that in anticipation, schools across the area were closed and employers sent workers home early.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department closed Paoli Pike at 4 p.m. Friday due to treacherous road conditions and numerous slide-offs as vehicles attempted to go up or down the hill. Just after that time, the county declared a state of emergency, asking drivers to stay off the roads.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is recommending motorists adhere to the “Three Cs” while behind the wheel, as inclement weather continues to make area roadways dangerous.

Harry Maginity, a public affairs official with INDOT, said the three “Three Cs” consist of avoiding coffee, cell phones and CDs.

Coffee refers to all food and drinks; cell phones include all digital handheld devices; and CDs includes all the distractions of playing music or adjusting the radio.

Maginity also stressed the importance of motorists giving themselves enough time to reach their destinations, as roadways should be traveled more safely and slowly.

“Leave very early. Don’t push yourself, and don’t speed,” he said. “Use common sense.”

He said with the decreased visibility, drivers should takes steps to be extra alert.

“Keep your eyes forward,” Maginity said, adding that motorists should also allow extra space between other vehicles sharing the roads during the sleet and snow storm.

Maginity said Friday afternoon that INDOT officials were clearing the state’s snow routes, which include state highways and interstates every 45 to 90 minutes with snow plows that also deposit salt to prevent ice from forming. The state highway department said it had more than 600 trucks clearing and treating highways.

“We have a full call out,” Maginity said. “Every snow route is being covered.”

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Andrew Reid, 4, and Kaiden Jarboe, 4, head back to their parents after gettin as many Easter eggs as they could at an egg hunt on Saturday at Colgate Park. About 6,000 eggs were laid out for the children.

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