Winter storms and slick road conditions are a factor in more than 2,000 road deaths every winter, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s report Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries and Deaths in Relation to Weather Conditions.
AAA Foundation found the highest proportion of crashes involving inclement weather happens overnight between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. when visibility is limited and roads are most likely to freeze. Crashes and roadside issues are common during Ohio’s wintry blasts.
AAA’s roadside assistance calls often double, or triple, during cold and snow.
Last winter (Dec. 21, 2017 - March 19, 2018):
More than 39,000 Ohio drivers crashed on wet or slick roads, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. AAA responded to more than 276,000 roadside assistance calls. The most common calls were for tows (50.6 percent) and dead batteries (21.3 percent). Tires (12.1 percent), and lockouts (12 percent) made up the bulk of the remaining calls. To avoid crashing or breaking down during winter weather, AAA recommends drivers:
Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
Accelerate and decelerate gently. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Take plenty of time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember, it also takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
Increase following distance. Allow five or six seconds following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. This space allows you time to stop safely if the other driver brakes suddenly.
Know your brakes. Whether or not you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. Don’t pump the brakes.
Maintain tires. Tires are the main point of contact with the road. Adequate pressure and tread depth are essential for stopping on going on ice and snow.
Check battery. The average life of a battery is 3-5 years. It requires a fully charged battery in good condition to start a vehicle in the cold. To ensure your battery is in good condition have an automotive technician inspect it at least twice a year.
Replace old windshield wipers and solvent. Salty spray from the roads can make it hard to see on winter roads. Solvent and good windshield wipers can improve visibility.
Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
Pack an Emergency Roadside Kit: If you do breakdown or spin out on slick roads, it may take help longer to get to you in wintry conditions.
That’s why it’s important to pack an emergency roadside kit that includes:
*Blankets and extra clothes to stay warm
*Flashlight and extra batteries
*First aid kit
*Simple tool kit
*Water and non-perishable food
*Mobile phone and charger to call for help