Winter weather can catch drivers off guard, but you can reduce the risks of being involved in a crash by making sure your vehicle is ready for the season, adopting winter driving techniques and following general roadway safety tips.
Last winter, there were 22,330 crashes on snow, ice or slush covered roads in Ohio, troopers reported. The crashes resulted in 42 deaths and 5,529 injuries. Speed-related factors were reported as a causative factor in 20 percent of all accidents, according to the patrol.
Before traveling in winter weather, clear snow and ice from the windows, headlights and tail lights of your vehicle. Also allow defrosters time to work so you can see. Once you begin driving, go slowly and increase following distances; remember that bridges, ramps and overpasses will freeze first.
Remember, Ohio law requires headlights to be on at anytime when the windshield wipers of the vehicle are in use because of precipitation. If your vehicle becomes stuck in snow, clear the tail pipe free of all snow and debris to decrease the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The patrol reminds drivers to supply their vehicles with a winter car kit including: an ice scraper, shovel, jumper cables, flashlight, warning devices, blankets, cell phone charger, first aid kit, tow rope, water and food for longer trips. It’s also important to ensure your tires have plenty of tread, check your battery and keep your windshield washer reservoir full.
If you must travel in winter weather, visit http://www.ohgo.com/ for real-time traffic conditions form the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The patrol’s winter driving traffic safety bulletin can be found at http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/Winter_Driving_Bulletin_2019.pdf.