In Ohio, driving in winter weather is challenging and often dangerous. Snow, sleet, icy roads, and other conditions create circumstances that many drivers are unprepared for. While the best option is to avoid excessive travel when warnings have been issued, many people must still use the roads for various reasons.
Every year, because of the weather and dangerous road conditions there is a peak in the number of local traffic incidents in the winter. Unfortunately, Ohio has the highest number of deadly winter car crashes, causing more than 420 deaths across the state in just a five-year span. Weather conditions are often to blame even for multiple car pileups, like the one that happened in whiteout conditions last November in Hudson, Ohio involving 85 vehicles.
The Ohio Dept. of Transportation and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness aim to decrease the number of collisions, injuries, and fatalities during this season. They have provided driving tips and real-time information about traffic and road conditions. But they are also asking for your help to keep the roadways in Ohio safe during the winter.
Efforts to Keep Ohio Roadways Clear & Motorists Safe
“Working for Winter” is the name of the initiative developed by the Ohio Dept. Of Transportation to keep businesses running even when the weather is bad. In this season, street crews work day and night to clear the way for commuters, shipments, and public transportation, while providing access to all the services that residents rely upon.
When snowfall is heavy, this is a big job. It employs 3,000 drivers and 300 mechanics working 12-hour shifts, as well as 1,600 snowplows. In addition to plowing city streets and interstates, Ohio crews spread thousands of tons of salt and ice-melting materials. These combined efforts help keep the surface of the roadways clear as the snow continues to fall and temperatures drop.
Ohio Winter Driving Tips
Do your part to keep Ohioans safe this season by following these recommendations.
Watch this video to get some crucial advice for safe driving in North Eastern Ohio winters.
Check Your Tires
Tire traction is extremely important on slick roads. Make sure that your tires are in good condition before winter. Fall is a good time to replace worn-out tires or switch to snow tires. Then, when snow, sleet, or heavy rains are in the forecast, make sure your tires properly inflated.
Keep Your Auto Prepared for Winter Driving
Make sure your lights, wiper blades, and car battery are in good condition before the bad weather hits.
Get more helpful tips from the staff at Alexander Body & Fender on How to Prepare Your Car for Winter.
Know How Your Vehicle Responds to Slippery Conditions
Know your brakes and how to properly use them in hazardous conditions. Most vehicles have anti-lock brakes (ABS), and these will function much differently than cars without ABS.
Keep in mind that speed limits are intended for dry roads in normal weather. Give yourself ample time to reach your destination safely. Ohio officials say, “Ice and snow…take it slow.”
Avoid Unnecessary Driving
“Please help keep our crews safe as they work to keep you safe. If you don’t have to travel, stay home. If you are on the road, please give our crews plenty of room to work,” said Jack Marchbanks, director of the Ohio DoT.
Do not drive while you are tired. Fatigued driving is one of the leading causes of accidents year-round, and the conditions of winter greatly increase the risks. Make sure you get plenty of rest before you get out in winter weather.
Stay Up to Date on Road Conditions
Do not text or check weather updates on your phone while driving. Get information before departing or pullover to check local driving conditions. Local residents should take advantage of the more than 600 live traffic cameras and traffic alerts provided by ODOT online at OHGO.com.
Use Caution Around Snowplows
Plow trucks go slower than the posted speed limit in order to clear slow effectively. It’s important for drivers to be patient and avoid passing the plow as this can cause other hazards. Keep in mind that these trucks may make sudden stops or turns and the drivers often have a limited field of vision. When traveling behind a snowplow, don’t tailgate because the trucks need room to work and can kick up snow clouds which decrease visibility.
More Winter Safety Tips for Drivers
- Clear any snow and ice off of your car before leaving on your trip.
- ALWAYS fasten your seatbelt upon entering your vehicle.
- Keep your headlights on even during daytime hours. This will improve your own visibility, and make your car more visible for other drivers.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full. This is especially important before embarking on a trip in hazardous conditions such as a snowstorm.
- Do not run your vehicle in a garage or other enclosed area. Many people make this mistake to warm up a car, but the fumes can be deadly.
- Avoid the use of your parking brake during cold, snowy or rainy weather.
- Do not use the cruise control in your vehicle when driving on any slippery road.
- Be especially cautious on bridges, overpasses and other areas that are more likely to freeze over in cold weather.
Tips for Long-Distance Winter Travel
For longer distance drives, here are some more specific recommendations. If it’s necessary to travel in bad weather, make sure you are prepared by taking these precautions:
- Keep up with news and weather reports in the days and hours before making your trip. If there are hazardous reports, delay your trip if possible.
- Let others know about your destination, the route on which you will travel, and how long the trip is expected to take.
- Have your vehicle inspected by a trusted, professional mechanic before embarking upon any long road trip.
- Make sure to take a mobile phone and an emergency kit in case of an incident. Your winter emergency kit should include an ice scraper, snow shovel, blankets, warm clothing, and emergency flares.
- If you become fatigued, find a safe place to stop and rest. Do not overexert yourself and create unnecessary risks.
- If possible, change your travel plans and wait for inclement weather to pass.
“Gold Standard” Collision Repair All Year
The entire collision repair team at Alexander’s encourages you to drive safely this winter season. We hope that lives can be saved through education and awareness.
If your car is damaged in an accident this winter, then contact our shop Alexander Body & Fender. Vehicles can be towed to our shop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to guaranteeing top-quality, Gold Standard quality work, we take the stress away from the entire process by becoming your advocate. Contact Alexander for a free free estimate.