COLUMBUS – The Ohio State Highway Patrol is warning drivers about the dangers of driving in winter weather and is offering some tips on what drivers should do in the event of a vehicle break down or a crash.
From December 2010 through March 2011, 37,429 crashes occurred on snow, ice or slush covered roadways killing 46 people and injuring 7,844. Speed was reported as the main cause in 77 percent of these crashes. To view a breakdown of these crashes visit http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/doc/Winter_Driving.pdf.
In the event of inclement weather, the Patrol is urging motorists to allow extra time to get to their destination, 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 to drive slowly, as everything including accelerating, turning and braking, take longer on snow-covered roadways.
“In case of a vehicle break-down, motorists should turn on their hazard warning lights, safely position the vehicle as far off the road as possible, call 1-877-7-PATROL for assistance and remain in the vehicle until help arrives,” explained Colonel John Born, Patrol superintendent.
Troopers further 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
· First aid kit
· Blanket/Sleeping bag
· Small shovel
· Bottled water and energy foods
· Candles and matches
· Tow strap/chain
Up-to-the-minute road conditions are always available by logging onto the Ohio Department of Transportation's website, www.buckeyetraffic.org.