Remember: Troopers responding to winter-related crashes are driving in same conditions

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CHARDON, Ohio-- The Ohio Department of Transportation on Wednesday was placing portable digital road signs along the part of Interstate 90 most affected by lake effect snow.

The signs will be cautioning drivers in advance of conditions when they become treacherous, advising them to slow down to 40 miles per hour.

The interstate is in the bulls-eye of the lake effect snow which created incredibly hazardous conditions there on Thursday and Friday last week, contributing to a pileup of 53 cars and 19 commercial trucks.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says of more than 11,500 winter weather-related crashes last year, almost 70-percent of them were the result of people driving too fast for the conditions.

The state troopers who are responding to those winter weather-related crashes have to contend with the same conditions themselves; most of them in cars that are as susceptible to the same troubles other drivers face.

Rear wheel drive cars are notorious for being more difficult to control on icy and slippery roads than all wheel drive vehicles.

The state patrol's fleet consists mostly of rear wheel drive Dodge Chargers.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol in Columbus confirms that of 79 all wheel drive Chargers that are in service at posts across the state only one has been assigned to the Chardon post, where troopers are dealing with some of the worst winter driving conditions in the state.

Sgt. Anthony Pearcy of the Highway Patrol in Columbus tells Fox 8 that there are 52 all wheel drive Chargers in stock ready to replace the state's older cruisers when they cycle out at about 110,000 miles, but the Chardon post is not treated any differently than any other highway patrol post in the state.

Pearcy says 157 all wheel drive Chargers are on order and as of July 1, 2016, the highway patrol is ordering only all wheel drive Chargers.

He says the time frame for the entire fleet to be changed over is between 3-5 years.

Troopers who have to drive through the worst winter weather in the state say they have to be careful getting to the scene of crashes to make sure that they get there safely.

Lt. Charles Gullett of the Chardon post says under their uniforms, troopers are just real people who are driving cars that operate the same as cars that anyone else drives.

Under the worst of conditions they have to be careful themselves and may not be able to rush to the scene of a crash.

"We are there to assist people, but we have to take our time we try to get there as efficiently and quickly as possible, but in the bad weather we have to take our time also because if we become disabled then we cannot render assistance to the people that need it the most."

For people who routinely drive through areas that are likely to experience the worst winter weather, the highway patrol recommends being prepared for anything.

"Be prepared; check your battery, your cooling system, tires, wipers, defrosters. Have a winter car kit," advises Sgt. Pearcy.

***More winter weather tips***

"There may be times when it will take us a while to get to you; we are navigating the same conditions and we want everyone to be safe," said Pearcy, advising that troopers will do everything they possibly can to try and assist anyone who is in distress.

Pearcy says troopers understand the need to get to a winter scene as quickly as they can, knowing that frostbite happens very quickly.

**More on the winter weather, here**



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