CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — In winter, road conditions can a take a turn for the worse within minutes. Blowing snow, low visibility and frigid temperatures are a few reasons county officials may issue travel advisories.
Carroll County Emergency Management Director Dana Jeffries said the office works closely with local law enforcement and the county highway department to get an idea on road conditions.
“They tell me that they’re receiving a lot of calls,” Jeffries said. “You know, people are stuck on a certain road.”
Jeffries said once he gathers all the information, he consults the National Weather Service. He said county commissioners ultimately decide if a travel advisory needs to be issued. Jeffries said a travel advisory is simply giving drivers a “heads up” that road conditions may be hazardous.
“Use caution. Make sure you’re prepared and realize that you could run into some bad weather and road conditions,” said Jeffries.
The next level up is considered a travel watch. Jeffries said when a watch is issued, only essential travel is suggested.
“You need to get food or you need to get work, or something like that,” Jeffries explained. “But if you don’t need to be out, we recommend you don’t travel.”
The highest level of a local travel advisory is a travel warning, which means only emergency personnel is allowed on the roads. Jeffries said drivers must refrain travel and obey local law enforcement.
Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said police have the authority to hand out citations, if necessary. He said drivers staying off the roads helps out emergency personnel.
“You know, we’re having to go around other travelers in the area,” Leazenby said. “That just delays our response and getting to those folks needing help.”
Jeffries and Leazenby said the main goal is to let drivers be aware of hazardous road conditions.
“Slow down. Take your time. Allow ample time to get to your destination,” said Leazenby.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security offers a map which highlights counties under travel advisories. To reach that link, visit here.