LPD: Severe Storm driving safety tips for Northwest Louisiana

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 7:18pm

Louisiana State Police is urging the people of northwest Louisiana to exercise caution during the upcoming storm. Prior to the storm, make sure to store drinking water, canned food and nonperishable items; secure your pets indoors and any loose items around homes (as they travel onto the roadways and impede traffic); have vehicles in good working order with sufficient fuel; and adhere to advisories issued by local municipal, parish and state officials.

Additional safety tips include:

Stay Put- Avoid driving in heavy storms unless absolutely necessary. Often, injuries and deaths occur during and in the aftermath of such storms. Sightseers impeding roadways cause obstacles for emergency personnel responding to those in need.

Slow Down- Decrease your vehicle speed during inclement weather to avoid hydroplaning and to account for increased stopping time. Periods of heavy rain may necessitate traveling at speeds below the posted speed limits.

Be cautious of high winds – Windy conditions adversely affect all vehicles, particularly high profile vehicles, such as buses and trucks, as well as smaller vehicles such as motorcycles. Gusty wind makes driving difficult, especially when it is rapidly changing in speed and direction.

Pay attention – You may come up on an intersection that is no longer controlled by a functioning traffic control device. If a law enforcement officer is directing traffic, follow his directions. Otherwise, treat the intersection as you would treat an intersection governed by a four-way stop sign. Refrain from utilizing cell phones, or other devices, which further distract drivers.

Do not drive around any barricades -- You may come into contact with a "road closed" barricade. This would indicate that the roadway is closed due to high water or another safety issue. It is illegal to disregard such barricades.

Captain Tom Madden, the Louisiana State Police Troop G Commander, reassures the public by stating, “We are proactively working with all local and state agencies to monitor and assess the most current weather forecasts as to determine potential issues which may negatively impact the motoring public, and to establish the most efficient means to mitigate any preventable problems. Furthermore, we encourage the public to monitor their local media resources as well for any road or office closures.”

There are several websites that can assist you in planning: www.getagameplan.org, www.LSP.org, or you can visit your local parish websites for information. To report stalled vehicles or unsafe roadway conditions, you may dial *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the Louisiana State Police office closest to you. For road closure information, motorists can dial “511” or visit www.511LA.org. Motorists are kindly asked not to call law enforcement agencies regarding road closure information, as to save limited lines for those reporting actual emergencies.

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