Stay Safe This Winter with These Ohio Driving Tips

With recent weather already approaching winter conditions in Ohio, it is past time to think about winter driving and how to stay safe on the road this winter. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management states that around 70 percent of all winter deaths are caused by poor weather conditions on the road. Ohio is one of the top 10 most dangerous states for winter accidents according to Icy Road Safety.com. In 2009-2010, Ohio was the sixth-most-dangerous state on the list, with 17 people killed due to bad weather conditions on the road. (November, 2013 https://icyroadsafety.com/fatalitystats.shtml)

Increase your safety while driving this winter by employing the safety tips outlined below:

Ohio Vehicle Safety

Keep your car winter-weather ready by following these tips:

  • Use snow tires or snow chains to stay safe in snow and ice (check with your local guidelines to make sure the use of chains is allowed in your city).
  • Keep your car tuned-up and ready to go. Check all belts, emissions, brakes, radiator, and other small systems.
  • If your car requires a different oil in the cold, switch it out before winter sets in. Your vehicle manual will tell you if you need to change oils.
  • Clean your vehicle lights and replace any that are broken or damaged.
  • Store an ice scraper in the car and make sure your windshield wipers are functional.

Ohio Everyday Driving Safety

Even if there is not actively snow or ice on the ground, these driving tips will help you remain safe in the winter:

  • Remove any snow or ice from your windows and lights before moving.
  • Turn on your headlights with your windshield wipers. ORC 4513.03 states that vehicle drivers must have headlights on at all times when the windshield wipers are operational.

(November, 2013 https://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4513.03)

  • Prevent your gas from freezing by keeping your tank half-full at all times.
  • Leave a wide space between yourself and other drivers. It can take up to 9 times longer to stop in icy conditions.
  • Watch for ice on bridges and overpasses, which can be 6 degrees colder than the rest of the road.

Emergency Prep

Don’t get caught without preparations in an emergency (like a snowstorm). Use these tips to stay safe even while stranded:

Make an emergency kit for your car. Include the following items:

A sleeping bag or blankets

Jumper cables


Flashlight and batteries

First aid kit

Essential medications

Steel shovel

Warm clothing


High-energy foods (granola bars, meal replacement bars, peanut butter crackers)

Bottled water

Cell phone charger

Bright colored cloth (to make your vehicle noticeable)

Sand for traction

If your vehicle stops on the side of the road, or you get stranded in a snowstorm, do not panic. Turn off your vehicle engine to prevent emissions seeping into the car. You can turn on your vehicle for about 10 minutes every hour to warm up. Keep the exhaust pipe free of snow. Tie a bright colored cloth to your antenna. Set off a flare to alert other drivers and emergency vehicles to your presence. (November, 2013 https://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/wintervehiclesafetytips.aspx)