16 Winter Crashes – More Seasonal Road Hazards to Come
This season has been difficult for certain individuals. However, we are not discussing the excessive snowfall or icy temperatures. Instead, we are referring to drivers in Ohio, who, according to reports from the Ohio Department of Transportation, seem to have a strong attraction towards snow plows, much like Mustang drivers are drawn to performing burnouts at car exhibitions.
According to ODOT Press Secretary Matt Bruning, there have already been 16 accidents involving cars and snow plows this season. When asked about the issue, Bruning stated that the latest collision did not result in any major injuries. However, this seems to be a recurring problem in Ohio as there have been numerous crashes. Last season, there were only 26 incidents throughout the entire season. Considering the relatively mild weather this year and with several months remaining, it is concerning to see such a high number of accidents.
According to the speaker, “We got to 16 quicker this year than last.” He noted that the first occurrence happened on January 7 in Cleveland when “a plow was sitting in the gore of the highway waiting for snow to start.” Unfortunately, “a driver drifted off the side of the road and hit the plow.”
The 15th crash has captured our focus. Posted on Facebook, ODOT claims it was a result of driving while distracted; fortunately, nobody experienced severe harm. However, the twisted Audi, recognizable to us solely by its wheels, tells a different story. It serves as a harsh reminder that when a snow plow goes head-to-head with any vehicle with four wheels, the plow will always emerge victorious.
Bunting stated, “None of these plow strikes have caused considerable harm to our trucks.” However, he also acknowledged that it still requires time and effort as they have to halt their work and contact law enforcement to file a report. In cases where the damage is significant, the plow must be taken back to the shop and the driver has to switch to a backup plow. Alternatively, other drivers in the vicinity need to adjust their routes to cover for the affected plow. This inevitably leads to a delay in clearing the routes.
There is a lot to address when it comes to winter weather in the state of Ohio. With approximately 43,000 miles of roadways to keep clear, the task can seem overwhelming. To tackle this challenge, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has a fleet of 1,500 snow plows at their disposal for maintaining all state and US routes outside of local cities and towns. Additionally, the Ohio Turnpike has its own designated team, but there are still about 8,000 lane miles on the interstate highways that must be managed.
Plowing accidents are not limited to Ohio, as seen by the incident in New York where a Subaru WRX was completely destroyed after attempting a dangerous maneuver and colliding with a plow in January. However, Bruning has reached out to transportation departments in other states and discovered that they are not facing the same problem of cars crashing into plows.
According to Bruning, “The common factors we see are distraction, or unfortunately impairment; overnight it’s usually an impaired driver that hits us, and we’ve had a couple of those this year.” He also mentioned that another factor is “people driving too fast for conditions.” Despite being aware of their surroundings, some drivers still choose to take risks, such as attempting to pass a snowplow. “They see the plow, they want to go around the plow, and they think ‘I’ve got a 4WD vehicle, no problem.’” However, this often leads to losing control of the vehicle, especially when trying to pass on a two-lane road. “They get in that left lane or go to pass on a two-lane road, and they realize they’ve bitten off more than they can chew and lose control.”
With the winter season still stretching two months ahead, Bruning emphasizes the importance for drivers in Ohio to understand the need for space when it comes to plowing.
The plow, measuring 12 feet in width, is a common sight on the roads. It shares the same width as the lane, which is also 12 feet. Unfortunately, there have been numerous crashes involving the plow, often caused by drivers either getting too close and colliding with it or rear-ending it. Surprisingly, these incidents occur just as frequently on two-lane roads as they do on the interstate.As the plow pushes through the snow, it creates a cloud of snow around it, significantly reducing visibility for those who get too close. Additionally, the plow also releases salt or brine from the back, making it even more dangerous to follow closely behind. It’s baffling why anyone would want to risk getting that close to the plow.
According to the speaker, the first rule is to maintain the same exact quoted text: “Just give them some room,” he says. “Back off, stay several car lengths away.”
Source: Ohio Department of Transportation