ODOT Warns Motorists Driving in Snow: “First is Worst”
ODOT’s best advice when driving in winter conditions, Ice & Snow, Take It Slow
 
COLUMBUS (Friday, January 13, 2012) – As Ohioans anticipate driving in winter weather, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) says beware:  “First is Worst,” especially on interstates and state-maintained highways, where speeds are faster and traffic volumes higher.
 
Research shows that by the time the first winter storm hits, most motorists have forgotten their winter driving skills. ODOT’s best advice when driving in winter conditions, Ice & Snow, Take It Slow.
 
“Winter driving can be challenging and unpredictable,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “Our snowplow operators work hard treating and plowing the roads to ensure motorists have a safe commute.  We ask that you do your part and drive appropriately for the conditions.”
 
Although winter-related fatalities on ODOT-maintained roads decreased by more than 40 percent last year – from 34 to 19 – there were still 37,751 winter-related crashes on Ohio’s roadways. 
 
With more than 65 crashes involving motorists hitting snowplows last year, ODOT reminds motorists please “Don’t Crowd The Plow.”  Snowplows travel well below the posted speed limit and can make sudden stops and turns – don’t tailgate and if you must pass take extreme caution and beware of the snow cloud.
 
Drivers can also do their part to be safe – whether it’s the first storm or last – by following these tips:
  • Plan Ahead: Before leaving home, find out about driving conditions by going to ODOT’s premier website www.BuckeyeTraffic.org. Safe drivers know the weather, and their limits.
  • See and be Seen: Remove any snow on your vehicle’s windows, lights, brake lights and signals.
  • Check the Clock: Leave plenty of time to reach your destination safely. It’s not worth putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation just to be on time.
  • Turn on your Lights: If you need to turn on your wipers, turn on your headlights - it’s the law.
 
Although crashes on ODOT-maintained roads make up only 30 percent of all snow and ice crashes, in the 2009-2010 winter season nearly 64 percent of all winter-related fatalities occurred on Interstates, U.S. Routes and State Routes.
 
For more safety tips visit ODOT’s Ice & Snow, Take It Slow website.
 
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For more information,  contact: Steve Faulkner, ODOT Press Secretary, at 614-644-7101, steve.faulkner@dot.state.oh.us or your local ODOT District Communications Office