Winter driving can offer challenges

The lack of snow so far this winter – up to now – has left many drivers with a false sense of security on the road.

There are still at least six more weeks of winter, and we are heading into the coldest time of the year. That means it is only a matter of time before snow or freezing rain will impact driving.

Motorists are leaving home and zipping to work. But, once the roads become hazardous with winter weather, the speed of travel will have to be cut back.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported driving too fast for conditions accounts for nearly one-half of winter accidents.

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.

Everyone dreads waking up on a workday to a fresh snowfall.

But taking some simple precautions can increase chances of safely getting to your destination.

Clear away snow from your car’s windows, and from the entire vehicle. Wait for your car to warm up and melt ice on the windows. Being able to see is a prime need for driving safely. That’s also why drivers should clear snow from their vehicle. Snow blowing off a moving car can blind other drivers.

Make sure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled with fluid that doesn’t easily freeze.

Be sure you know where your snow brush and ice scraper are. Buy new ones if the old ones are worn out.

If your destination is some distance away, keep a winter driving kit in your vehicle.

The highway patrol recommends the kit should include a cell phone with car charger; road flares or reflectors; help or call police signs; first-aid kit; flashlight; blanket or sleeping bag; a small shovel; bottled water and energy foods; candles and matches; and tow strap or chain.

Many states have phone numbers or websites for up-to-date road conditions. Check ahead to see what you may be facing and change plans accordingly.

Also, keep an eye on weather forecasts for that area.

Being prepared is the best way to deal with winter driving. Be patient this winter, and take your time when driving on snow- and ice-covered roads.


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