Polar Vortex brings frigid temperatures and icy Ohio roadways

With Ohio breaking temperatures records across the state it has also produced extremely icy Ohio roadways and with that many Ohio auto accidents across Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus.

Icy-Ohio-Roads-Cochran-OhioOhio started 2014 off with a bang with below-freezing temperatures, icy roads, and blizzard-like conditions. On January 5th 2014, Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati, and many other cities across the state faced some of the worst road conditions seen in years due to icy Ohio roadways.

Due to the icy Ohio roadways and dangerous conditions, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness issued a Level III emergency classification for snow and ice closing all roads to all Ohio residents. For several days, Ohio drivers were asked to stay home or face arrest. The winter storms seen in Ohio were some of the worst in years, and roads were closed to keep Ohio residents safe.

Ohio’s Severe Winter Weather Classifications

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness was founded to help keep Ohio drivers safe during times of dangerous weather. The association has three levels for assessing the driving conditions during winter weather.

At level 1, roads are icy and snow is blowing across the road. Drivers are advised to drive cautiously.

At level 2, roads are icy, visibility is poor, and snow is piling up on roadways. Extreme caution is advised, and drivers are advised to stay off the roads if possible. Office and school closures are common during level 2.

At level 3, all Ohio roads are closed to all but emergency personnel and drivers with medical emergencies. Drivers out on the roads during these conditions are subject to arrest. Most businesses and schools are shut down. (January 2014, https://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/WinterWeatherTerms.aspx)

(January 2014, https://www.bedfordnow.com/news/2014/jan/05/lucas-county-oh-going-under-level-3-snow-emergency/)

Driving Safety During Winter Weather

Driving during winter weather is permissible at all levels except level 3. However, this does not mean that roadways are safe or danger-free. It is important for all drivers to take care when driving on icy, snowy roads. The following tips will help keep you safe during fierce Ohio winters and prevent dangerous accidents:

Prepare your car for winter accidents. Bring extra clothing, a fully-charged phone, emergency flares, a small shovel, ice scraper, and keep your gas tank full.

If your car is stranded, stay inside and keep warm. Keep the car’s exhaust pipe free of snow and do not run the engine more than 10 minutes per hour.

If you are involved in an accident, follow the same rules for any other road accident. Check for injuries, turn on hazard lights, take notes, and wait for the police or insurance agent to arrive. Take pictures of the accident so your insurance agent can file the right report.

Avoiding Winter Accidents

The best way to avoid winter accidents in Ohio is to stay off icy roads as much as possible. Road workers have a harder time clearing ice than snow, which means icy spots could remain for weeks after the initial snowfall. Avoid driving until your local county states that it is safe, and be prepared for icy patches on the road until the weather heats up again.