4 Tips To Help Ohio Drivers Avoid Accidents This Winter
Ohio drivers may avoid winter accidents by preparing their cars, knowing where accidents often occur, using caution and driving appropriately near plows.
Winter driving in Dayton brings unique challenges and hazards that can make the likelihood of accidents high. Inclement weather accounts for about 22 percent of all annual crashes in the U.S., according to the Federal Highway Administration, and accident rates may be even higher during winter. Fortunately, drivers in Ohio can greatly lower their risk of personally experiencing a serious auto accident by taking the following four steps.
- Be Properly Prepare
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is critical that drivers keep their vehicles properly maintained for winter driving. Early in the season, drivers should inspect tire treads, top off their washer and anti-freeze fluids and have their batteries tested. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation also recommends a professional inspection of the ignition and exhaust systems, the defroster and the brakes.
Drivers also can benefit from creating an emergency kit that they can use if they become stranded or experience an accident. This kit should include shovels, abrasive materials to restore traction, jumper cables, flares and flashlights. These items may make it easier for drivers to remove their vehicles from potentially dangerous locations or alert other motorists to their presence.
- Recognize Danger Zones
Drivers should also be aware of areas where winter driving accidents are more likely to occur. Since bridges and overpasses are exposed to more cold air, they often freeze before surrounding roadways. Drivers should also remember that interstate ramps might be hazardous because they frequently receive less anti-icing treatment than other roads.
- Drive Conservatively
During snowy or icy conditions, drivers should be more conservative in accelerating steering and braking. Motorists should allow greater following or stopping distances, drive below posted speed limits and brake with caution. Drivers should avoid using cruise control, as this can raise the risk of traction loss. Motorists whose vehicles feature four-wheel drive should not overestimate their ability to stop.
Motorists should also be careful to avoid driving while distracted, since delayed reactions can have huge impacts during inclement weather. Drivers who need to look up directions, weather forecasts or alternative routes should refrain from doing so until they have found a safe and visible place to stop.
- Respect Snowplows
The MDOT explains that drivers must exercise special care around snowplows. Drivers should keep the following facts in mind:
- To avoid obstacles such as stranded vehicle, snowplows may unexpectedly stop or move over. Drivers should leave a large following distance to reduce the risk of accidents in these situations.
- Snowplows may have large blind spots, and some plows extend several feet past the edge of the vehicle. Drivers should therefore avoid passing snowplows or pass only when space is adequate.
- The road in front of a plow may be in much worse condition than the road behind it. This is another reason that drivers should generally avoid passing plows.
Drivers should also use caution when approaching oncoming snowplows. Drivers should move as far away from the center line as possible to avoid collisions with the vehicle or its blade.
Addressing Accidents Others Caused
Unfortunately, these measures may not always keep motorists safe from winter driving accidents, especially when other drivers are at fault. However, if another person acts recklessly and causes an accident, injured drivers may have grounds for seeking recourse through a personal injury lawsuit. For further information, accident victims should consider discussing the situation with an attorney.