Forecasted winter storm spells danger for drivers

| January 4, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Forecasters are predicting a major winter storm, which could lead to dangerous driving conditions. Motorists should take time now to prepare for the forecasted wintry blast.

Winter Driving Statistics: Crashes are common during Ohio’s wintry blasts. In fact: Last winter, (Dec. 2014 – March 2015) nearly 25,000 motorists crashed on snow, ice or slush-covered roads, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

A recent AAA analysis of national crash data revealed that between 2011 and 2013, Ohio had the fifth-highest yearly average of winter-related crash fatalities out of all 50 states, with an average of 51 fatalities on snow and ice.

Roadside assistance calls often double or triple during winter weather, due to motorists spinning out on slick roads, flat tires, dead batteries and other breakdowns. Last winter (Dec. 2014 – March 2015), AAA Ohio Auto Club responded to more than 69,000 calls for roadside assistance in its 38-county territory.

Winter Driving Tips: When driving on ice and snow, AAA recommends drivers: Stop gradually. Never slam on the brakes! If you start to slide, take your feet off the pedals and keep your eyes focused on where you want to go instead of on the obstacle you’re trying to avoid. Keep sufficient distance between vehicles. Leave early. Expect trips to take longer in bad weather. Drive for the conditions. Often, that means driving below the posted speed limit.

“Don’t overextend your vehicle’s capability in wintry conditions,” said AAA Director of Automotive Service, Bill Linsenmayer. “Slow down and get there alive.”

Winter Vehicle Prep: Maintain tires – Adequate pressure and tread depth are essential for stopping and going on ice and snow, but tire pressure can drop during cold weather. Make sure tire pressure matches the sticker on the driver’s side doorjamb and the tread depth is above the wear bar indicators marked on the tires.

Check battery – The average life of a battery is three to five years. Cold weather can drain batteries quickly and leave drivers stranded. Have a technician inspect the battery at least twice a year.

Replace old windshield wipers and solvent – Precipitation and salty spray from the roads often make it hard to see when driving during the winter. Solvent and good windshield wipers can greatly improve visibility.

Make sure gas tank is at least half full – This will minimize condensation buildup that can lead to gas line freeze-up and will provide a fuel cushion in the event of a delay.

Emergency Roadside Kit: If you do breakdown or spin out in winter weather, it may take help longer to get to you in wintry conditions. That’s why it’s important to pack an emergency roadside kit that includes: Jumper cables, blankets and extra clothes to stay warm, flashlight and extra batteries, ice scraper, safety flares or reflectors, shovel, first aid kit, simple tool kit, water and non-perishable food, and mobile phone and charger to call for help.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at

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