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January 24, 2014 - Taste Buds
Whether there's a polar vortex or a summer heat wave, the Buds must get through to the local restaurants. Most times, the Buds choose nicer days to step out for some food tastin', but there are times when workload dictates that we go when the weather is pretty blah.
Being veterans of travel (and also because there's no snow days in the news world!), the Buds would like to share some winter driving tips with our fellow readers. After all, we want you to safely make it to the latest new restaurant we review!
There is a plethora of information available online if you just type in "winter driving tips." However, the Buds came across some information on the state of Ohio's Department of Transportation page (www.dot.state.oh.us) that touches on all the important tips.
Thanks to ODOT, here are some things you need to consider when heading out in winter weather:
1. Prepare yourself for driving by checking on weather conditions at your current location and at your destination. Plan your trip to avoid heavy traffic or bad weather, if possible.
2. Check all your car's fluid levels, make sure the tires are filled (you tend to lose tire pressure when it's cold), and make sure your windows are clean. Salt on the road can get pretty messy on a car, so it's a good idea to try to clean it off as soon as you can, especially off of your windows and headlights.
3. Take your time! This is probably the most important tip of all. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination. Too many drivers run late and then drive quickly to try to make up time -- that's a no-no in winter weather. Giving yourself enough time to get where you're going also ensures that you can travel at a rate of speed compatible with the current road conditions and visibility levels.
4. Be patient and safe around snowplows! This one really doesn't need much more explanation, but each Bud (and certainly some of our readers as well) has witnessed people swerving around a plow or crowding too close to it, thus creating a danger not only to the plow's operator, but also to themselves and other drivers on the road.
5. Keep important supplies in your car, like a first-aid kit, warm clothes, a blanket, jumper cables, and anything else you will need if you find yourself stranded in a snowstorm. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before leaving for a trip, especially if the weather is bad.
6. Law enforcement officials in all Ohio counties have the authority to issue Snow Emergency Levels for the roads. Level 1 means roads are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow and to drive carefully. Level 2 means roads are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow, and only those who feel it is necessary to drive should go out on the roads. Level 3 means all roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel, and no one else should be on the roads unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or in case of a personal emergency. In addition, all employees should call their employer to see if they need to report to work. Those traveling on the roads during a Level 3 Snow Emergency may be subject to arrest.
7. Go slower on snow and ice covered roads, and keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you. If you have to stop, don't slam on your brakes -- brake early and slowly to avoid sliding. Remember, slow and steady!
8. Pay attention. This goes without saying as well, since you should ALWAYS pay attention to your surroundings while driving. However, this is doubly important in winter driving conditions. Be aware of what's going on in front of you, and pay attention to how other cars are reacting to road conditions. If there's trouble ahead, paying attention can give you an extra split-second to avoid problems.
Overall, just be careful out there! We want you to make it from place to place in one piece! Use common sense, take your time, and if the weather is really bad, just stay home. You can always replace your car, but you can't replace YOU!
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