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Ohio winter and car accidents: Preparation tips for motorists

The prescription for avoiding a car accident during the winter months in Ohio is fairly straightforward and the same one motorists hear every year: Be prepared for the unexpected and ensure that your vehicle is ready for the upcoming inclement weather.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is busily making its annual preparations for the winter months, with spokespersons and other safety officials counseling motorists to do the same thing.

Justin Chesnic, a public information officer with ODOT, reminds drivers to "slow down and keep a clear, safe distance" in winter, starting with the very first snowfall, which he says usually brings the most motor vehicle crashes on state roads and highways.

Bevi Powell, a communications director with AAA, adds that a well-maintained and winter-ready vehicle is an essential complement to driver awareness. Powell stresses a properly working battery, good brakes and new windshield wipers. Her organization also recommends that motorists keep a flashlight, sand or cat litter, a cell phone, flares, a blanket and some food and water in any vehicle that will be exposed to winter driving.

"You need to be able to react to any driving situation quickly," Powell says.

State inspectors are currently busy performing maintenance and otherwise readying Ohio's 1,700-plus snowplows, duly noting the unprecedented amount of snow that visited Ohio last December, when most of the state was blanketed under well more than four feet of snow cover.

No clear consensus has emerged as to what drivers can expect this year. Forecasts range from colder than normal to relatively mild temperatures.

The bottom line with that kind of uncertainty: Be prepared for anything.

Source: Warren Tribune Chronicle, "ODOT gets ready for winter" Nov. 8, 2011

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