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Staying safe on Ohio roads this winter

Winter presents a host of challenges and risks for any driver. Visibility can suffer due to early nightfall, fogged windows and blowing snow. Roads can be incredibly icy; cars can get stuck or may not start.

With these and other hazards that come with winter driving, it’s crucial for motorists to be prepared. Below are some important winter preparedness tips.

Driving safely

It’s crucial for drivers to drive slow and remain alert when the roads are bad. Put your phone away, but consider keeping it within reach should you need to call for help. You should also clear your car completely of snow before heading out, and make sure you let someone know where you’re going if you are taking a longer trip.

What to have in your car

According to the CDC, every driver should keep a winter emergency kit in their car.

This includes:

  • Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries
  • Items to stay warm such as extra hats, coats, mittens, and blankets
  • Windshield scraper
  • Shovel
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Water and snack food
  • First aid kit with any necessary medications and a pocket knife
  • Tow chains or rope
  • Tire chains
  • Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
  • Cat litter or sand to help tires get traction, or road salt to melt ice
  • Booster cables with a fully charged battery or jumper cables
  • Hazard or other reflectors
  • Bright colored flag or help signs, emergency distress flag, and/or emergency flares
  • Road maps
  • Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water

These supplies can help you take care of yourself and get help if you find yourself stranded or stuck on the side of the road.

What to do in the event of an accident

Call for help

If you are involved in an accident, it is crucial that you call for help right away. This is especially important if you or others have injuries. Being in the cold can exacerbate some injuries and cause others.

Exchange insurance information

You should also always stop and exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers after a collision. Even if the accident is minor, checking in with each other and making sure everyone can leave the scene safely is vital in the wintertime.

Turn on your hazards

If you are in a solitary crash, you should turn on your hazards and do everything you can to make your vehicle and yourself visible to others.

Accidents can be very frightening, especially when they occur in frigid winter weather. However, with some basic preparation, drivers can be better equipped to survive a winter crash.