Winter Weather 101: Winter Driving

Love it or hate it – winter is here!

It’s no secret that driving in the winter can be an absolute nightmare, and it seems every year motorists have to relearn what it takes to remain prepared and safe on the road. But the truth is, traveling in snow, ice, fog or soaking rain can be a major challenge for even the most experienced motorists.

According to the Department of Transportation, there are approximately 1.2 million weather-related vehicle crashes every year – leading to, on average, nearly 6,000 fatalities and over 445,000 injuries. It’s clear we could all use a little refresher when it comes to navigating those slick roads this winter.

Before you go tips:

  1. Ready your vehicle. Check your vehicle’s battery, wipers, coolant, tires and other systems that are most affected when the temperature drops. Make sure your tires have good tread. When you know your vehicle is ready for the road, clear your car of snow, ice or dirt from the windows, forward sensors, headlights, tail lights and backup camera.
  2. Stock your vehicle with a winter supply kit that includes: mobile phone, charger, batteries, blankets, flashlight with extra batteries, first-aid kit, high-calorie, non-perishable food, small can with waterproof matches and candle to melt snow for drinking water, sack of sand or cat litter for traction, shovel, windshield scraper and brush, and battery booster cables.
  3. Get the weather forecast and check road conditions. Your drive will be much safer if you know what’s ahead. On Ohio, log on to OHGO.com for real-time road conditions, traffic speeds, and accidents. CHANGE YOUR PLANS if travel is hazardous.

Winter driving tips:

  1. Stay alert. Make sure you keep your gas tank over half full and keep a close eye on road conditions, which can change rapidly. On road trips, take breaks often so you can stay focused on the road.
  2. Drive slower than normal and leave more room between you and surrounding vehicles. DO NOT use cruise control, brake quickly or make sharp turns. You need to change how you normally drive.
  3. Don’t crowd the plow. The road behind an active plow is safer to drive on. Give them plenty of room to work and only pass when it is safe to do so.

Tips to protect you and your loved ones:

  1. Accidents happen. Always wear your seatbelt and ensure everyone in your vehicle does the same. Make sure young children are in car seats.
  2. If you’re involved in an accident, try to pull your vehicle off the road and use hazard lights, flares, reflectors or flashlights to warn other drivers. STAY OFF THE ROAD, dial 911, and wait for the police to arrive.
  3. Drive smart. Don’t text or make phone calls, speed, or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These activities are always dangerous, but the risk is much higher in winter weather.

 

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