MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Health Department and Knox County Safe Communities Coalition is reminding everyone to slow down this winter and be prepared.
“Snow and ice can wreak havoc for many drivers, especially for those who are not prepared for winter driving and forget to take it slow,” said Caree Varughese with the health department and Safe Communities Project Director. “Even if you keep control of your car, not everyone else will. It’s a false sense of security to think if you have four-wheel or all-wheel drive you can stop more quickly on snow and ice.”
Since Nov. 1 there have been 60 injury crashes and 254 property damage crashes in Knox County; 98 of these crashes were caused by drivers going too fast for the weather conditions.
“The best winter driving tip is to listen or watch the weather the evening prior to the morning commute and simply look out your window when you get up for work,” said Lt. Chad McGinty of the Mount Gilead Post of the Ohio Highway State Patrol. “If it’s snowing or the walk looks ice covered, skip the extra cup of coffee and get an early start on your commute. Just allowing a few extra minutes permits traveling at a slower and safer speed.”
Here are some tips from the Knox County Safe Communities Coalition:
•Reduce speed and increase following distance.
•Keep all windows free of snow and ice.
•Make sure your car is ready for winter with proper level of anti-freeze.
•Make sure your tires have adequate tread.
•Bridges and shaded areas ice first and retain ice longer than roadways.
•An icy road is more slippery at 32 degrees than at lower temperatures.
“No one is exempt from traffic crashes in winter weather,” said Varughese. “The faster you’re going, the longer is takes to stop. It’s important to brake early, and slowly, never slam on the brakes.”
When driving on snow or ice, drivers should not use cruise control and avoid sudden movements which can cause their vehicle to slide.
“Pay attention to what’s going on ahead of you, a crash may be caused by the actions of another driver and being aware will give you extra time to react safely,” said Varughese.
“And remember, this time of year, we see many snowplows on the roadways, give them room to work,” she added. “The plows are wide and can cross the centerline or shoulder. Do not tailgate and try not to pass. Snowplows travel below the posted speed limit so drivers need to be patient. Remember the operator’s field of vision is limited, you may see them, but they don’t always see you. Keep your distance and watch for sudden stops or turns.”
Year-around safety measures that the Safe Communities Coalition suggest are: always wear your safety belt and never drive after drinking alcohol.