Winter driving: First step to take in a crash or breakdown

It doesn't take much snow or slush to makes roads dangerous this time of year

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – Slick roads were reported at the time of a terrifying crash in Trumbull County Tuesday morning. Icy roads covered in a layer snow likely played a role in a minivan crashing into Girard Lake.

Five children inside the van and their mother weren’t hurt in the crash, but the ordeal brings to light that there are some things drivers can do to make sure they are prepared for wintry driving conditions.

It doesn’t take much snow or slush to makes roads dangerous this time of year. Last year, there were 13,000 snow or ice-related crashes in Ohio and almost 1,000 of those were from Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana County.

Lt. Jerad Sutton with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said bridges and overpasses are especially problematic. Even if a vehicle has 4-wheel drive, which can help get started in ice or snow, it won’t change the distance needed to stop.

“As you head out, you need to remember when the roads are icy or snow covered, everything takes longer,” Sutton said. “It takes long to stop; it takes longer when you are turning. Your vehicle can lose control very easily.”

Jerad suggests having an emergency kit in your car that includes flares, a blanket, and jumper cables. It’s also a good idea to have something that can break a window if need be.

If an accident or breakdown happens, even before calling 911, there are steps to take to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse.

“If your vehicle becomes disabled or if you are involved in a crash, we want you to get that car as far off the road as you can and turn the four-way flashers on. When conditions start to get bad and deteriorate quickly, you can be trapped in the car and struck.”

Sutton said the safest place to be is inside your car. That way, if another car does lose control and comes too close, you have your car as a barrier.