SOUTHINGTON, Ohio (WKBN) – Last year, more than 900 people lost their lives on Ohio roads and the Ohio State Highway Patrol investigated nearly 13,000 traffic crashes in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties.
Troopers said many of those accidents could have been prevented with safer driving habits, which is why the patrol kicked off its “Safe Driving Month” campaign on Monday.
“Watch your speed. Don’t drive impaired. Wear your seat belt. Following too closely, that is what we all need to be aware of. And we need to understand when we are not doing these things, there is crashes, there is injuries, there is property damage, death,” Lt. Brian Holt of the Warren post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.
It is especially important to pay attention on the highway. Traveling at 70 miles per hours means about 100 feet per second in a car.
“Things can go south rapidly. So if you are forecasting, in other words, watching ahead at all times, you can hopefully prevent any further issues,” Holt said.
When accidents do occur, motorists should keep an eye out for emergency workers.
“We have to think of so many different things. First and foremost is to protect first-responders and crash victims alike,” Holt said. “So the troopers are watching traffic, they’re watching for hazardous materials in the road that could cause further damage.”
Police said that even if traffic is stopped, trying to help out at the scene of an accident might hinder rescue workers.
“The motoring public should stay in their vehicles as much as they possibly can. I understand there are times when people want to tend to the injured and they are in good faith trying to do the right thing, but it is best for all parties involved if they stay inside their vehicles when at all possible,” Holt said.
Across the state, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is called to about 290,000 accidents every year.