Ohio’s Winter Safety Awareness Week kicks off with first widespread snow of the season


CLEVELAND (WJW) – Love it or hate it, the snow is here. Snow plows are out across Northeast Ohio as this widespread snow and rain mix continues to fall. It might not look like a lot but add the cold temperatures and our roads become a bit of a challenge.

While the kids may be having a blast in it, for the rest of us, it’s a reminder to get prepared.

“We make sure the snowblower is working because shoveling the driveway is not fun,” said Ryan Baker. “We make sure our cars are serviced, oil changed and ready to go.”

Simion Habian agrees saying, “I make sure my truck is in good condition and I have the right clothes and all the right winter equipment.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation has about 100 snow plows out Sunday and will continue to rotate them through the night and morning. Even though we’re seeing more of a snow and rain mix, the pavement temps are just above freezing. People need to be extra cautious when traveling on bridge decks as they may get slippery in the evening hours.

“Those tend to freeze first as the air travels above and under them,” said Amanda McFarland, the Northeast Ohio Regional PIO for ODOT. “The bridge decks get a lot colder faster than the road itself.”

There’s always a lot on our minds when we’re driving in snow but ODOT wants you to remember to give their plows room to work. Last winter there were 46 accidents, where someone ran into an ODOT plow.

“We don’t want to see that because when your vehicle hits our snow plow, it’s not going to win,” said McFarland. “These trucks are very large and they have a job to do, so just give them plenty of room to work.”

With this first snowfall falling on the kick-off of Ohio’s Winter Safety Awareness Week, don’t forget to make sure your car is ready for what’s to come.

“Maybe have a bottle of water and a few snacks and a blanket,” said McFarland. “If you’re stopped in traffic or broken down on the side of the roadway that way you can keep warm and hydrated until EMS arrives.”

It’s not just your cars you should winterize. Make sure your homes are prepared too. The state advises we all check our smoke detectors and cut and remove low hanging tree branches around our homes.

It’s also a good idea to prepare an emergency kit for our homes and our cars.

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