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How do state troopers stay safe while driving in weather like this?

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- How do Indiana state troopers keep themselves safe in weather like this when you might need them most?

"I've been hit. Actually, I've been rear ended six times in winter weather conditions," ISP Sgt. Brian Walker said.

Walker says when the weather gets like this, troopers take extra precautions when they respond to crashes or patrol the roads.

"We get hit regularly during the winter weather months. People just driving too fast, not paying attention, the distracted driving is a huge issue," he said.

He says that's why troopers absolutely pull over speeders and other people driving recklessly for the road conditions.

"You can drive 70 miles an hour on the interstate when the conditions are nice and dry, but under these conditions the speed limit's out the window," Walker said.

ISP Sgt. Brian Walker says he's been rear-ended six times in his career.

He understands that drivers can get frustrated in winter weather conditions, especially if traffic slows down.

But he says having a little patience could save someone's life.

"They want to bump out to the right and have a look to see what's going on, and there it is right there. That's why we're slowed down, whatever's on the right side of the road, and they ultimately end up having a crash themselves," he said.

He says snow plows keeping the roads clear are crucial to troopers being able to reach drivers in distress, but says shoulders aren't a plow's priority, driving lanes are.

He says vehicles can get sucked in to the soft snow on shoulders, which he says usually leads to a crash.

That's why he puts a lot of thought into where he pulls a driver over.

"My concern when stopping somebody under these conditions is are they going to be able to maintain control of their car when they get over into that shoulder? So our troopers have to pay attention to that, to make sure we don't have another issue that results," Walker said.

He says he and his colleagues stock their squad cars with essential items just like you should with blankets and cold weather gear for if you get stuck, as well as bottles of water and snacks, and a charged cell phone to call for help.

When roads are like this, Walker says you really need to slow down, allow for more time to get where you're going, and leave more space for the car in front of you than you think you need.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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