Snow squalls and white-outs can take drivers by surprise

Belmont County - Several early morning crashes in various parts of Marshall, Belmont and Monroe counties were reportedly caused by icy roadways.

"This morning it was not black ice," stated Lt. James Faunda, post commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. "It was visible ice on the roadway. There should not have been any doubt in the drivers' minds what the road conditions were."

Lt. Faunda said drivers should slow down, make sure their headlights are on, and stay back from the vehicle in front.

"You know, we talk about keeping one vehicle length away for every ten miles an hour you're traveling," Faunda noted. "On icy roadways, that should be four or five vehicle lengths for every ten miles per hour."

7News Meteorologist Emily Goodman said we're looking at possible snow squalls that pop up quickly.

"And it could make for white-out conditions and that's when the wind is blowing and it pretty much is just a white-out outside," Goodman said. "You really can't see what's going on, on the road. These snow squalls don't generally bring a lot of snow because they move in so quickly. So they're just going to come in real quick, dump maybe a coating or a dusting and then move out of the area."

While that sounds less dangerous than a big snowfall, it poses its own hazards.

"That quick snowfall can be kind of tricky and dangerous for travel because it's so unexpected, it almost comes out of nowhere," Goodman explained.

"And if it actually comes to a white-out, find somewhere safe to pull off the road," advised Lt. Faunda. "We know those squalls only last five, ten, maybe fifteen minutes at the most."

So to recap, here's what to do in the case of a snow squall:

--Reduce Speed

--Turn On Headlights

--Stay Far Back From The Vehicle In Front of You

--In A White-Out, Pull Over and Wait It Out




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