As the weather gets colder and snow begins to fall, public safety officials want to remind Hoosiers of dangers and how to stay safe when traveling.

First Sergeant Tim Kaiser, the assistant commander at the Indiana State Police Pendleton District, said the most common cause of crashes during snow or icy weather is speeding too fast for the existing road conditions. Slick roads, Kaiser added, don’t cause crashes — it's the driving behavior on the roads that cause the crashes.

“Indiana has a law called 'speed too fast for existing conditions' because of this," fellow Indiana State Police Public Information Officer John Bowling said. "It’s important to leave early, giving yourself extra time to reach your destination, and to reduce your speed and increase your following distance if roadways are slick."

Bowling said if drivers ever need to stop, they should not leave their car stranded. He also said drivers should make sure they have their cellphones charged and have a charger on them to notify police of their location in the event of an emergency.

The Indiana State Police have listed these tips to help drivers stay safer in the winter:

  • Check the weather forecast and let someone know your route of travel.
  • Allow for extra time to get to your destination.
  • Do not use cruise control on slick roads.
  • Use your headlights, even in the daylight.
  • Do not be distracted. If you need to use an electronic device, pull over and stop.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security also recommends that drivers “winterize their vehicles” and make sure they're prepared for any situations that could arise on the roads.

INDHS also suggests checking weather and traffic conditions before traveling on the roads.

“Find out about the driving conditions and pay attention to weather reports on the radio,” the department's website says.

The department also has a website for drivers to check the travel conditions per county.

Bowling said he wants to remind people to move over and slow down for emergency vehicles, snow plows and highway service vehicles.

“The last two years has seen a dramatic increase in our cars being struck on the interstate as we investigate other crashes,” Bowling said. “I personally had my car hit on I-70 by a semi as I sat on the roadside at a crash scene in January of 2005. I’ve had numerous other close calls during slick road conditions by motorists going too fast for the existing road conditions.”

Bowling said while Indiana State Police have “no special projects planned,” police will continue to enforce Move Over and Slow Down laws.