On ice and snow, take it slow


Representatives of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are cautioning motorists to drive carefully around their snowplows during the winter months as snowplows in Ohio are hit by vehicles each year as they work.

“We have had 16 snow- and ice-related plow strikes so far this year, but we haven’t had any injuries that I know of,” said ODOT District 9 Public Information Officer Mikaela Bruning.

She said none of the accidents this year have happened in District 9, which serves Highland, Adams, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross and Scioto counties.

“This is something that we deal with every year but, for example, last year we had 56 plows hit the entire year,” said Bruning.

Bruning asked Ohio motorists to do their part in preventing accidents with snowplows. “What we typically tell people is to make sure you’re dropping all distractions when you’re driving,” she said. “When it comes to snow and ice, we always ask drivers to remember just to move over and slow down — always adjust you’re driving to the current conditions and give our crews plenty of room to work.”

She said it’s important to note that working snowplows are typically moving slower than traffic. “I think maybe something else that people don’t think about is just that when plows are out and they are driving, they are going at a significantly slower speed than the general traffic, so maybe just be prepared for that because I’m sure sometimes people are driving up on them and they think they are going the speed limit, but they are not, so just make sure you’re paying attention and giving them room to work.”

Highland County Engineer Chris Fauber said the snowplows in his department have not been in any accidents this year. “We’ve been fortunate over the years,” he said. “Knock on wood, I can’t think of the last time we’ve had an accident involving a snowplow.”

He said the county’s snowplows are brightly lit the help prevent accidents. “We’ve got those things lit up pretty good, and then typically while we’re plowing, we’re only running 20 to 22 miles an hour – that’s the ideal speed,” he said.

Fauber urged drivers to be careful around the snowplows. “It’s kind of the cliché that ODOT has put out there, but when there is ice and snow, take it slow,” he said. “It’s kind of one of those things that allow us to do our work, and we’re out there trying to get the roads back to good shape, so just give them plenty of space and distance behind the vehicle, and as always in those road conditions just take extra precaution and go a little slower, and give yourself a little more time.”

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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