Snowy side streets could become dangerous in bitter cold temps

Plows in Mahoning Co. stayed busy clearing side streets before the below-zero temperature drop

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – If your street is still covered with snow, you’re not alone. But if it’s not cleared today, the single-digit temperatures expected overnight could make driving even more dangerous.

Road crews stayed busy Tuesday plowing the main roads and are now working on side streets. Getting that snow cleared before the temperature drop is critical to keeping drivers safe.

“Once the ice freezes up on the road, it’s hard to get it off when the temperatures get as cold as they are,” said Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti.

Plow drivers in Mahoning County loaded up on a mixture of salt and slag, a rocky, sandy substance. Putting that down on the roads improves tire traction. This is especially important for roads where there’s still snow and ice.

“We also add an additive of either beet juice or calcium chloride to work with the salt to melt at lower temperatures. A lot of times, you can get below-zero melts,” Ginnetti said.

Although Ginnetti had 20 trucks on the road around noon Tuesday when snow started falling, he admitted it wasn’t until 8 or 9 p.m. before they could cover all the roads.

“It takes the crews time, little bit of time to get the roads clean, especially the other day. That heavy, wet snow yesterday, that takes a lot of time to get that stuff off the road.”

With more snow expected into the weekend, Ginnetti said drivers need to be patient and careful while waiting for the roads to clear.

Still, he said it’s possible for drivers to be too cautious.

“You have some people that are driving too slow that also are causing issues as well,” he said. “Just try to be safe and pay attention to what’s going on around you.”

Ginnetti said drivers who hit a slippery spot and can’t stop or swerve to avoid crashing, could rear-end people driving too slowly.