Expect slick roads with Valley’s first batch of winter weather

File photo

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Even before the expected rain or snow starts falling Thursday night into Friday, the Ohio Department of Transportation is warning drivers to be careful.

“As those pavements get colder, especially as those pavements get damp, that’s when you have the potential for freezing,” said Justin Chesnic, with ODOT.

Although the region is set to see its first real batch of winter weather overnight and on Friday, crews with local county engineer’s offices and ODOT have been inspecting their plows and other equipment, topping off salt domes, and pretreating roads with brine — all while finishing their usual paving work.

“At the same time, the other half of the department is working on getting the trucks ready, the plows ready. We’ve ordered salt so…we are ready,” said Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti.

Crews are just hoping drivers are also ready and paying attention to the road ahead of them.

“Even if the road looks clear and just wet, it may have some black ice out there so go slow,” Chesnic said.

Be particularly aware of slippery spots on bridges and overpasses, which easily become icy and freeze over.

Road conditions aren’t the only factors in accidents, though.

“The biggest thing we tell people all year round is avoid distracted driving,” Chesnic said.

That means put down the cell phone and avoid playing with the radio or anything else that might take your focus away from driving.

Chesnic also warned drivers to give plows plenty of space to operate.

“They travel 35 to 40 miles per hour so give them room,” he said. “They do make sudden stops and turns out there so just be alert when driving around snow plows.”

Words to remember as the winter season approaches.