VAN WERT – Winter driving is always more dangerous and with the return of winter, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding area drivers to take it easy on the roadways this winter.
Between December 2012 and March 2013, 103 weather-related crashes were reported in Van Wert and Paulding counties with two people dying as a result of the crashes. Statewide there were 42 deaths and 5,523 injuries in 18,779 weather-related crashes.
“During inclement weather, drivers should allow more time for themselves to arrive at their destination, increase following distance behind other vehicles, and slow down sooner for turns and stops,” said Lieutenant Les Brode, Van Wert Post commander. “Already this year, the Van Wert Post has seen two deaths during this season and we hope to prevent further loss of life.”
According to the patrol, the factors in most weather-related crashes are unsafe speed, following too closely, and failure to control.
In the event of bad weather, the patrol is urging motorists to allow extra time to get to their destination, maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the traffic ahead, pay close attention to bridges and overpasses – as they are often the first to freeze over – and to drive slowly, as everything including accelerating, turning and braking, take longer on snow-covered roadways.
Brode urged motorists and occupants to buckle up anytime they are in a motor vehicle as it is one of the most effective ways of preventing injury or death during a traffic crash.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reminds area residents to prepare their vehicle for winter driving. Have your battery, cooling system, tires, wipers, and defrosters all checked to ensure they are all in good condition and working properly.
“In case of a vehicle breakdown, motorists should turn on their hazard warning lights, safely position the vehicle as far off the road as possible, call #677 for assistance and remain in the vehicle until help arrives,” explained Brode.