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Staying safe this winter

It seems that danger is lurking everywhere these days.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage across the nation and around the world, we are constantly reminded to take precautions to slow the spread the of the coronavirus. From wearing masks in public to social distancing, washing our hands and avoiding contact with people from outside our own households, we are nearly always thinking about ways to keep ourselves and others safe.

But the coronavirus is not the only danger we must guard against at this time of year. Evidence of that arrived Wednesday, when our region was blanketed by a heavy snowfall.

For those of us who were able to remain at home that day, the white stuff painted a beautiful winter scene outside our doors. Several inches of fluffy snow piled up on tree branches, fence posts, hand railings and every surface that was exposed.

There were plenty of people in the Ohio Valley, however, who had to come and go from work during the storm. Others had to make important trips to check on loved ones or pick up children from day care.

That meant that many, many people were traveling on local roadways despite the hazardous weather.

As our reporters began to take a closer look at the situation, they discovered that detailed information was hard to come by. Regardless of the county or the agency they reached out to, the answer was the same: First responders were completely overwhelmed with calls for assistance.

Fortunately, none of the emergency situations resulted in serious injuries on Wednesday. Most were relatively minor traffic accidents. In some cases, there was no damage at all — vehicles simply slid off the roadways and became stuck.

Still, it is concerning that such a high number of incidents occurred. It is a simple matter for a sliding vehicle to become a projectile that can seriously injure or even kill an oncoming motorist or a passing pedestrian.

Here in Eastern Ohio, we should be relatively used to driving in snowy or even icy conditions. Although we have had some mild winters recently, we are no strangers to snowfall or even blizzards.

That is why it so important that we remember how to drive safely when wintry weather strikes. First and foremost, we need to slow down. Driving too fast for conditions can easily lead to tragedy. Whatever the reason for the rush, it isn’t worth it if roads are snow-covered and slick.

As we continue through the winter season, please refresh your memory on how to drive safely in the snow. We want you all to remain safe from the pandemic and from the winter weather.

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