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AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 17, 2011 – Winter driving can present troublesome challenges for even the most diligent of drivers. Snow and ice can make driving more difficult and sometimes even dangerous.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, in 2010 there were 28 traffic fatalities in Summit County, down from 32 in 2009. The leading cause of death during winter storms is motor vehicle crashes. Summa Health System and Safe Communities recommend preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if caught in a snow storm while driving.
“When driving in the snow, do everything slowly and gently,” said Jennifer Davis RN, BSN, MPH, CEN, EMT-P, trauma program manager for Summa Akron City Hospital. “Even if you maintain control of your car, not everyone else will. Remember, in the snow, tires just barely grab the road, so be sure to leave plenty of distance between you and other cars.”
Of course, the best winter weather strategy is to stay at home when conditions are bad. However, if you have to venture out during a snow storm, follow this advice from the Ohio Department of Public Safety:
- Slippery Roads – Caused by ice, slushy snow or rain, slippery roads are the biggest hazard of winter driving. Roads are especially slick following the first rain after a dry spell since oil and grease have built up on the roads. Remember the distance it takes to bring your car to a stop on dry pavement. In winter conditions, allow at least three times that distance to reach a full stop and avoid skidding. Reduce the danger of skidding by driving more slowly and pumping the brakes as you slow down for a turn rather than holding them down.
- Skidding – If you find yourself beginning to skid, do not brake. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and gently turn your car in the direction you want your front wheels to go. Hitting the brakes or turning sharply will only lock you into a skid. If you can’t get control of your car, it is better to steer into a snow bank than to risk a collision in traffic.
- Visibility – In heavy snow, keep your lights on. Stop and clean your windshield and lights if necessary. Get off the road before you become stranded by worsening weather conditions. If you get stuck in snow, avoid spinning your wheels – you’ll only dig in deeper.
About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by HealthGrades, U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org.