Get prepared; bad weather will arrive soon and driving, safety will be affected


BUCYRUS — With the weather forecast for this weekend calling for dry weather and highs in the 40s, the thought of driving on ice and snow is not at the top of drivers’ minds.

However, winter driving conditions will arrive sooner or later, and the the Ohio Highway Patrol is reminding drivers to winterize their vehicles and follow safe driving tips in preparation for inclement weather.

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.

Last winter, there were 22,330 crashes on snow, ice or slush covered roads in Ohio. These crashes resulted in 42 deaths and 5,529 injuries. Speed-related factors were reported as a causative factor in 20 percent of all crashes.

Before traveling in winter weather, clear snow and ice from the 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; remember that bridges, ramps and overpasses will freeze first.

Remember, Ohio law requires headlights to be on at any time 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 stock 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 www.ohgo.com for real time traffic conditions from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Staff report