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Driving in the Snow…

Please be cautious of dangerous driving conditions as you navigate Ohio’s roadways this winter. Winter conditions cause more deadly car accidents in Ohio than any other state in the nation. As of 2017, the average number of deadly winter car accidents in Ohio was 86 deaths per year. So why is the rate so high and what can drivers do to stay safe? Check the road conditions before you head out, respect snow emergency classifications, and use extra caution on the roads.

Check Before You Head Out

Take advantage of the many resources with real-time information about road conditions in your area. Almost all local news stations provide up-to-date reports online and through mobile apps. The Ohio Department of Transportation provides a great resource for weather-related road closures and restrictions. If you live in the Greater Cincinnati region, here are a couple of resources to check with before you head out:

Respect Snow Emergency Classifications

While you may use your own discretion in many situations, Ohio has specific rules regarding whether it is appropriate to travel during a snow emergency. Refer to the list below to determine whether it is acceptable to be driving in the snow.

LEVEL 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.

LEVEL 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be very icy. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work. Motorists should use extreme caution.

LEVEL 3: All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be driving during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roads may subject themselves to arrest.

Use Extra Caution on the Roads

If you make the decision to brave the weather, be sure to use extra caution. Poor driving conditions is not a defense to liability for causing a car accident. How do I use extra caution? Areas of emphasis when driving in inclement weather include speed, distance, and vision. Decrease your speed, especially when other automobiles are in front of or behind you. Increase your following distance, especially when following a snow plow. Finally, ensure that others are able to see you and that you can see others by using your headlights. By focusing on things within your control, you can mitigate the risk of being involved in a car accident while driving in the challenging winter elements.

Speak with Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have been involved in an accident while driving (or as a passenger), you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Kruger & Hodges. Our attorneys understand how to create a strong legal strategy to obtain the compensation that accident victims deserve. Contact our car accident lawyers in Hamilton and Butler County today to schedule an initial free consultation.

This blog post was written as part of our firm’s law student blog series.  The author is Andrew Countryman, a second-year law student at Salmon P. Chase College of Law.

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