Preparing for winter weather behind the wheel

Preparing for winter weather behind the wheel

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - "Nearly all the crashes that we see could be prevented if folks would just slow down," said Sergeant  Matthew Geer with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

With snow moving in, you need to be more alert behind the wheel.

Last year there was a 19 percent increase in crashes during the winter causing 26 deaths in Ohio.

The roads may be clear for now, but that's when Highway Patrol wants you to be cautious. They said while the weather may seem fine, you need to prepare for the winter weather and how you should drive in it and avoid distracted driving at all costs.

We had our first taste of winter weather and already had several crashes due to the snow and ice.

"When there is just that little coating and there is ice underneath it people may think the roadway is wet or that it's not slippery at all because they can still see the pavement," said Sgt. Geer.

Sgt. Geer said this is when most get in trouble. He says

It's critical that you slow down, buckle up, and give yourself enough room on the road when the weather warrants. Something Ohio drivers are doing less of as 13,783 crashed just last year causing 26 deaths and 3,613 injuries.

Highway Patrol said officially that in 21 percent of those crashes, speed was a factor.

"Folks will blame the ice, they will blame ODOT for not putting salt down again, those are just things you need to navigate around," said Sgt. Matthew Geer. "You as a reasonable person just need to slow your car down that way you can navigate on those icy situations."

Officers also said it's a good idea to check to forecast before you head out and make sure your car is prepared for the winter conditions.

OSHP said another cause of crashes in the winter is distracted driving. Already this year our state is up to 18,000. Just weeks ago a local fatal accident due to distracted driving.

"Nothing is that important that you have to do it right here and now," said Sandy Wiechman, coordinator of Safe Communities of Wood County. "Pull over!"

Both Safe Communities of Wood County and the Ohio State Highway Patrol say you should be a defensive driver, alert and prepared for anything this winter, but their biggest message slow down and give yourself room and time on the road.

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