The Ohio State Highway Patrol urges motorists to consider the following tips on how to drive cautiously, what to do in the event of a crash, and what items to keep in your trunk for your own safety.
In the event of inclement weather, motorists should allow extra time to get to their destination and maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the traffic ahead. Pay close attention to bridges and overpasses, as they are often the first to freeze over, and drive slowly, as everything including accelerating, turning, and braking takes longer on snow-covered roadways.
During the winter of 2015-16, there were 11,544 crashes on snow, ice or slush covered roadways on Ohio roads. This is a decrease of 54 percent from last year. These crashes resulted in nine deaths and 3,096 injuries. Speed-related factors were reported as a cause in 68 percent of these crashes. The Patrol’s 2016 bulletin on winter driving provides more statistics.
“In case of a vehicle breakdown, motorists should turn on their hazard warning lights, safely position the vehicle as far off the road as possible, call #677 for assistance, and remain in the vehicle until help arrives,” explained Lt. William Bowers, commander of the OSHP Bowling Green post.
Troopers also suggest that if you get stuck in snow, make sure that your tail pipe is free of all snow and debris to decrease your chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
All motorists are encouraged to prepare their vehicle for winter driving by ensuring that the battery, cooling system, tires, wipers, and defroster are all in working order. Drivers are also encouraged to carry the following winter car kit items in their vehicle in case of a breakdown: cell phone with car charger; road flares or reflectors; “Help” or “Call Police” signs; a first aid kit; a flashlight; a blanket or sleeping bag; a small shovel; bottled water and energy foods; candles and matches; a tow strap or chain.
Up-to-the-minute road conditions are always available by logging onto the Ohio Department of Transportation’s website.