Drivers on Interstate 70: ‘You have to pay attention to signs’

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Indiana State Police is cracking down on erratic driving on Interstate 70 this weekend.  Three accidents on the interstate within 20 miles are concerning enough.  But those accidents involved semis, which has Troopers especially concerned.

“Yeah, it’s very discerning that this is going on.”  So on Friday morning, Sergeant Chris Wright hit the interstate looking to make sure semi drivers were driving safely. 

He was quickly disappointed by a semi driving 69 in a 55.  As dangerous as that is, he says it’s the bottle-necking of traffic at merge sites that has him most concerned.

“The backups in the construction zones are where we try to be proactive,” said Sgt. Wright.  “As soon as we start to see a backup, we jump right in the middle of it to get things moving as quickly as we can.”

That’s why you’ll see a state trooper sitting on the interstate a mile from a merge site pushing traffic to one lane, hoping that drivers will simply get in line and allow the traffic to flow more smoothly.

“You have to pay attention to signs,” said Sgt. Wright.  “If it says left lane, make sure you’re in the left lane.  Don’t try to skirt around traffic.  All you’re going to do is upset people.”

If you’re hoping these construction zones are going away anytime soon, well, we’ve got some bad news for you.  The Indiana Department of Transportation tells State Police these construction zones are here to stay through 2014 as long as the weather holds.  And, you’ll also see them again here next year.

This means Sergeant Wright will spend many more days patrolling the interstate.  His hope for anyone traveling this weekend: if the sign says merge, do so.  And you’ll be less likely to become a statistic.

Sergeant Wright also has advice for locals: use your knowledge of the area and avoid I-70 if at all possible.

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