Winter blows in, brings dangerous driving conditions

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 17, 2004

The year's first measurable snowfall of the season made driving a bit more challenging for some area residents this week. More slick, icy conditions are likely on the way this weekend.

Local authorities are advising motorists to play it safe when snow and ice make roadways slippery.

"We did handle several crashes Tuesday as a result of the weather," Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Carl Roark said. "I think we handled eight alone that morning and we probably asked other agencies in the county to handle that many because we were too busy."

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Roark said the most important rule to remember in driving safely through ice and snow is to reduce your speed and allow greater following distances between your car and the car in front of you.

"Icy roadways can triple stopping distance," Roark said. "On Ice, remember to accelerate slowly to prevent traction loss."

Other safety tips:

4Avoid making sudden moves - no fast turns, no quick acceleration and no hard breaking. Stop gradually. Motorists should never slam on their brakes on snow or ice.

4Be cautious of black ice, a thin, transparent layer of ice on the roadway that is extremely slippery.

4 Pay particular attention when traveling on bridges and overpasses, as they freeze more quickly than road surfaces. "Also, be aware that passing lanes may not be as well maintained (as right lanes)," Roark said.

4 Wear that safety belt. "If you are kept in the driver's seat, the chances of regaining control are much greater (in the event of skidding)," Roark said.

Ohio Department of Transportation District Nine officials warn motorists to exercise extreme caution when traveling near snowplows.

4Although plows are slow-moving vehicles, it is much safer to follow them than to pass them. Should you decide to pass, however, please do so with extreme caution to avoid an accident.

4 Remember to turn your headlights on low beam when approaching a snow plow. Bright headlights can make it very difficult for plow drivers to see the roadway ahead of them.