COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Highway Patrol reminds drivers to follow safe driving tips and winterize their vehicles in preparation for inclement weather. Ever-changing weather patterns in the winter can catch drivers off guard. Drivers can reduce the risks of being involved in a crash by ensuring their vehicle is ready for the season, adopting winter driving techniques and following general roadway safety, according to the OSP.
Last winter, there were 14,724 crashes on snow, ice or slush-covered roads in Ohio. These crashes resulted in 26 fatal crashes, which killed 33 people. Unsafe speed by the at-fault driver was the reported cause of 24 percent of the crashes on snow, ice or slush covered roads. For crashes involving fatalities, going left of center was a contributing circumstance 26 percent of the time.
“Allowing for extra time to get to your destination could make the difference in the safety of your loved ones and others traveling on the roads this winter,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “You can help mitigate the winter weather hazards when you plan ahead, are patient, and are prepared.”
Before traveling in winter weather, clear the snow and ice from your windows, headlights, and taillights of your vehicle. Also, allow defrosters time to work so you can see. Once you begin driving, go slow and increase following distances; bridges, ramps , and overpasses will freeze first.
Ohio law requires headlights to be on at any time when the windshield wipers of the vehicle are in use. If your vehicle becomes stuck in snow, clear the tailpipe free of all snow and debris to decrease the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“When driving conditions worsen, motorists need to drive carefully, be vigilant , aware and patient,” said Lieutenant Michael Akers, Columbus Post Commander . “Slow down and give yourself extra time and space to brake and turn. If you are stranded, remain calm.”
If your vehicle breaks down or you are involved in a crash, turn on your hazard lights, move your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible, remain in the vehicle , and call #677.
The Patrol reminds drivers to stock their vehicles with a winter car kit that includes 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 is 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 https://www.ohgo.com for real-time traffic conditions from the Ohio Department of Transportation. The Patrol’s winter driving traffic safety bulletin can be found at: https://statepatrol.ohio.gov/links/Winter_Driving_Bulletin_2022.pdf .