CLEVELAND — The January 2022 winter driving bulletin issued by the Ohio State Highway Patrol shows Cuyahoga County with many more winter-related crashes last winter than any other part of the state.
The report also indicated winter-related crashes last winter were up by 62% statewide compared to the previous winter.
Sgt. Ryan Purpura with Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging drivers to prepare themselves and their vehicles for heavy winter driving, even though Cleveland just experienced one of the warmest Decembers on record.
“It’s important to take the steps before the winter weather gets here," Purpura said. “Plan ahead if you need to go somewhere, don’t try and leave at the last minute, build yourself in some extra time.”
“Cleveland being one of the most northern cities in Ohio, they do get the lake effect snow. There is a lot of traffic here, it’s a major metropolitan area. Motorists must develop safe driving habits, driving for the conditions, slowing down, increasing the following distance between the vehicle in front of you.”
The bulletin showed that Cuyahoga County had 1,605 winter-related crashes last winter, from Dec. 1, 2020, through March 2021. Columbus and Franklin County recorded 975 winter-related crashes, and Cincinnati and Hamilton County recorded 819 winter-related crashes during the same time period.
The bulletin also indicated that last winter, 26% of the crashes were caused primarily due to "unsafe speed."
“Just because it says 60 miles per hour on the roadways in Cuyahoga County and around Cleveland, doesn’t mean 60 miles per hour is appropriate, it may be necessary to go slower," Purpura said. "Just remember that the overpasses will freeze first when the temperature gets below freezing.”
Jim Youngless, Service Manager with Terry’s North Coast Auto in Parma told News 5 now is good time to get a winter vehicle safety inspection.
Youngless said tires with less than 4/32 of inch of remaining tread should be replaced.
“Checking your coolant level, making sure it’s protected enough so your engine is not freezing up, also your washer fluids," Youngless said. “Even if your vehicle is starting up, if your vehicle’s battery has hit that four-year limit is to make sure you have that replaced.”
“Leaning in or leaning out, that’s usually a sign that a suspension or steering component that has failed, that will put you on the side of the road. It is dangerous, you could lose your steering, you could lose your brakes.”