Following several fatal accidents, the Ohio Department of Transportation is warning Ohio motorists to be careful around commercial trucks and plows. A recent truck accident marked the 68th accident involving a snow plow this winter season in Ohio. Comparatively, there were 53 crashes and four fatalities in Ohio last year during the same period. Due to the already high numbers, ODOT is extremely concerned. As a result, "ODOT is recommending people stay at least four to five car lengths behind the plows, and pass with caution or not at all on two lane roads." Officials express that because of the "sheer length of the plow is 11 or 12 feet, and if they are driving in a lane that is 12 feet, you don't have a lot of room for error there."
In addition to plows and commercial trucks, the State Highway Patrol says that speed is still a big factor in many of these cases. Nearly 80 percent of crashes in the state are the result of speed. Reports detail that vehicles often speed then spin out during slick road conditions, causing them to land in front of plows. Additionally, officials say that distracted drivers also significantly contribute to these numbers. Those drivers that use their cell phones are four times more likely to cause an accident as well.
ODOT expresses that ODOT drivers are busy watching the roads, controls, sensors and the salt and brine distribution, so other vehicles should be on the lookout on roadways.
Source: Fox 8 "ODOT Warns Drivers to Take it Slow Around Plows" 1/13/2011