Ice and Snow… Take It Slow

ODOT partners with Walmart to keep
Holiday Highways safer for Shoppers

Nearly half of winter related crashes on major
Ohio highways occur during holiday shopping period

COLUMBUS (Friday, November 19, 2010) - Holiday shopping is beginning early this year and so is the traffic that comes with it. That’s why the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is again partnering with the state’s largest retailer Walmart to keep highways safer for holiday shoppers.

And for good reason: a review by ODOT’s safety experts revealed that more than 45 percent of the total winter related crashes last year on the state’s major highways occurred during the holiday shopping period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Throughout the holiday season, ODOT’s winter safety messages will appear at the entrances and exits at each of the 150 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across the state.

 "Being safe is truly a team effort," said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. "Through this continued partnership with Walmart, we will be reaching millions of Ohioans with a simple and important safety message: in Ice and Snow… Take it Slow."

Ice & Snow ... Take it Slow
Winter driving tips, as well
as links and information
about ODOT's snow and ice operations.
"Walmart is proud to be partnering with ODOT for a third year in a row, "said James Murphy, Walmart’s Fleet Safety Manager in Ohio. "To be able to deliver this important winter safety message to our customers and associates is a top priority."

The five-week holiday shopping season is typically a busy time on Ohio’s major interstates and highways. Last year, it also proved to be dangerous, with an average of more than 100 crashes each day on the state highway system.

Of the 9,435 winter related crashes last year on the state highway system (interstates and major U.S. and state routes), more than 4,316 of those crashes occurred between November 24 and January 2.

ODOT’s winter driving safety report shows that a large number of these crashes are due to motorists driving at unsafe speeds and following to close to vehicles in front of them.

"Winter driving conditions can change mile by mile, minute by minute," added ODOT Director Molitoris. "Staying alert and being a careful and informed driver are the best ways to travel safely this winter."

The posters at the entrances and exits encourage Walmart shoppers to log on to ODOT’s premiere website - which provides up-to-the-minute information and a user-friendly map of work zone locations, traffic congestion alerts, road closures, and weather conditions 24-hours a day, seven days a week. You can also sign up for traffic alerts in Ohio’s major metropolitan centers - sent through ODOT’s Twitter feed.

Earlier this year, ODOT and Walmart were nationally recognized for this unique safety outreach effort by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

For more information contact: Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640
or Your Local ODOT District Communications Office.