We're scheduled to get our first taste of winter weather today, and there's nothing better than being prepared.
Ohio Highway Patrol reports that from December 2011 through March 2012, 15,526 crashes occurred on snow, ice or slush covered roadways killing 27 people and injuring 4,529. Those figures were down significantly from the previous winter. Speed-related factors were reported as a cause in 72 percent of these crashes. In December 2010 through March 2011, 37,429 crashes happened on snow, ice or slush covered roads, killing 46 people and injuring 7,844. Speed was reported as the main cause in 77 percent of those crashes.
The state Highway Patrol and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have offered some tips for driving safely in the snow and items you should keep in your car in case of an emergency.
• Allow extra time to get to your destination, maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the traffic ahead, pay close attention to bridges and overpasses because they freeze first.
• If your car breaks down, turn on your hazard warning lights, get your car as far off the road as possible and call 1-877-7-PATROL for help. Stay in your car until help arrives.
• Stock your car with the following items in case you are stranded:cell phone with car charger, road flares or reflectors, "help" or "call police" signs, first aid kit, flashlight, blanket/sleeping bag, small shovel, bottled water and energy foods, candles and matches, tow strap/chain, rock salt, and sand for traction.
• Minimize your travels. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
• Get updates on traffic and weather before you head out by checking the Ohio Department of Transportation's website.