Car interior and winter road. Footage. Driver and passenger view from the cockpit of a car on the snowy road, back view. Visual concept for a blog about winter driving safety tips.

As the saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Ohio, just wait a few minutes.”

While Winter 2023-24 has been mild, we’re not out of the woods yet. Northeast Ohio has been known to get snow in February, March, and even April. The sudden change in temperatures and driving conditions catches some Ohio motorists off guard. To reduce your risk of being injured in a serious collision, ensure your vehicle is prepared for the snow, follow general roadway safety tips, and adopt appropriate winter driving techniques.

Winter Weather Driving Safety Tips

Icy road conditions or just an inch or two of snow can create hazardous road conditions. To reduce the risk of losing control of your vehicle and being hurt in a winter car accident, The Robenalt Law Firm, Inc. recommends the following safety tips for winter driving.

  • Monitor the road conditions and drive slowly in wet, snowy, or icy weather.
  • Bridges and overpasses freeze before other areas.
  • If you don’t need to go out, stay home.
  • Monitor your tire pressure and tire tread. Your tires will lose one pound of air pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature.
  • Avoid braking and turning at the same time. If possible, brake first, then turn.
  • Don’t follow closely behind other vehicles. Increase your following distance to give them extra room.
  • If you skid, do not brake. Instead, ease off on the accelerator, then steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
  • Avoid stopping when possible. In snowy weather, it is easier to keep slowly rolling until a traffic light changes rather than start from a complete stop.
  • Cold weather can affect your battery. Have it checked by a professional.
  • Give snow plows extra room to complete their work.

Create a Winter Weather Driving Preparedness Kit

The Ohio State Highway Patrol and AAA recommend that drivers be prepared for an emergency with a winter weather emergency kit. Your winter weather emergency kit should include the following:

  • A compact, lightweight snow shovel
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • An ice scraper and snow brush
  • A traction mat or abrasive material like sand, salt, or cat litter
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra clothing and warm blankets
  • Drinking water and non-perishable snacks
  • Warning devices like flares or triangles
  • A first-aid kit
  • A basic tool kit with items like a screwdriver, pliers, and an adjustable wrench
  • A phone charger

If you do find yourself stranded, stay with your vehicle. If you leave your vehicle, you risk becoming disoriented and could face prolonged exposure to potentially deadly cold conditions. To stay warm, run the engine for about 10 minutes every hour. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, ensure the exhaust pipe is clear. You can also open your window slightly to allow fresh air to enter the passenger compartment.

“Planning, Patience, and Preparation” Are Keys to Winter Weather Driving

Last winter, there were 10,256 crashes on snow, ice, or slush-covered roads in Ohio. These crashes resulted in 20 fatal crashes and killed 26 people.

According to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, “Planning, patience, and preparation are key to driving in winter weather. Before you start driving, we encourage you to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly so that you can safely get where you need to go.”

Ohio law requires that headlights be on anytime the vehicle’s windshield wipers are in use. If your vehicle becomes stuck in snow, clear the tailpipe free of all snow and debris to decrease the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If your vehicle breaks down or you are involved in a crash, turn on your hazard lights, move your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible, remain in the vehicle, and call #677 or 9-1-1.

Robenalt Law Promotes Safety Tips for Winter Driving

Follow these safety tips to avoid a collision and protect yourself and your passengers. Be prepared, and make the right choice when other people might panic.

If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, The Robenalt Law Firm, Inc. can help. Call (216) 223-7535 or contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.