Exercise caution in wintry weather

We’ve been reminded during the past week about the concerns that pop up when snow begins sticking on the road.

And, while we’ve enjoyed a couple of milder days, drivers have to get a grasp on basic winter driving skills.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported driving too fast for conditions accounts for more than one-half of winter accidents.

The patrol is urging motorists to allow extra time to get to their destination, maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the traffic ahead, pay close attention to bridges and overpasses — as they are often the first to freeze over — and to drive slowly, as everything, including accelerating, turning and braking take longer on snow-covered roadways.

Everyone dreads waking up on a workday to a fresh snowfall. Schools may be delayed or closed but drivers still have to get to work on time.

But taking some simple precautions can increase chances of safely getting to your destination.

Clear away snow from your car’s windows, and from the entire vehicle. Wait for your car to warm up and melt ice on the windows. Being able to see is necessary for safe driving. That’s also why drivers should clear snow from their vehicle. Snow blowing off a moving car can blind other drivers.

Make sure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled with fluid that doesn’t easily freeze. Replace worn windshield-wiper blades.

Be sure you know where your snow brush and ice scraper are. Buy new ones if the old ones are worn out.

If your destination is some distance away, keep a winter-driving kit in your vehicle.

The highway patrol recommends the kit should include a cell phone with car charger; road flares or reflectors; help or call police signs; first-aid kit; flashlight; blanket or sleeping bag; a small shovel; bottled water and energy foods; candles and matches; and tow strap or chain.

Many states have phone numbers or websites for up-to-date road conditions. Check ahead to see what you may be facing and change plans accordingly. Also, keep an eye on weather forecasts for that area.

Being prepared is the best way to deal with winter driving.

Be patient this winter, and take your time when driving on snow- and ice-covered roads.

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