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Ice and Snow ... Take It Slow

Ohio Blizzard of ’78 Anniversary Serves as Reminder: “Ice and Snow… Take It Slow” 

COLUMBUS (January 28, 2008) – As Ohio marks the 30th anniversary of the Great Blizzard of 1978, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is using the date to remind motorists: “Ice and Snow…Take it Slow.”

On January 26, 1978, bitter cold temperatures combined with heavy snow to create extreme white-out conditions across the state. Snowdrifts covered cars and houses, blocked highways and closed airports for two days.

ODOT has used the lessons learned from the 1978 blizzard to prepare for the winter season each year since. The department stockpiles salt at locations around the state; ensures its equipment is in working order, and trains enough highway workers to plow the state’s 37,000 lane miles.

On average, ODOT uses 650,000 tons of salt statewide each year and spends $56 million on ice and snow control.

Beyond the plows and salt, ODOT has invested in new ice and snow technology to pinpoint and track approaching storms. Pavement sensors and weather stations, along with forecasting services and internet radar, allow ODOT to determine when and where to apply the most manpower.

Up-to-the-minute road conditions are always available by logging onto www.buckeyetraffic.org. The site was recently upgraded to include the latest mapping technology, allowing motorists to view road conditions, construction information, live traffic cameras, and events that may affect their travel. The user-friendly site was accessed more than 23 million times in its first month, making it one of the most accessed state Web sites.

  • During winter months, travel conditions can change from mile to mile, minute to minute, so it’s also up to drivers to exercise caution to keep Ohio’s highways safe.
  • Don’t crowd the plow: Give snowplows room to work, take it slow and keep your distance.
  • Proceed with caution: When there is snow on the highway, drive under the speed limit, brake early and slowly, and don’t use cruise control. Be aware of who and what is going on around you.
  • Be prepared: Before leaving home, visit www.buckeyetraffic.org for the latest road condition information. Clear snow from your vehicle’s windows and lights, and leave early.

For more information contact Scott Varner, Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640