A look at area driving conditions

By Morgan McKinniss and Erin Perkins

OHIO VALLEY — With the severe winter weather, the tri-county region has been experiencing dangerous roadways.

Meigs County has been under a level three snow emergency and Gallia County has been under a level two in the most recent snow storm. Overnight temperatures in the single digits and temperatures reaching just above freezing during the day has created layers of ice on the roadways with snow packed on top. While Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and other agencies have been out working the clear the road, driving is currently a risky activity.

Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin expects to remain under a level two for the time being while crews work to clear the roadways.

Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood said that Meigs went to a level two at noon on Wednesday. Wood shared Meigs will remain at the current level until further notice as temperatures were to drop into single digits overnight on Wednesday into Thursday morning. He said he makes his decision on winter weather levels by communicating with several different sources including his officers on patrol, ODOT, and the county’s highway department. Wood said Meigs County residents can follow winter weather level updates on the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Meigs EMS Facebook pages or give the sheriff’s office a call.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has several tips for drivers when they have to travel in severe winter weather. According to Sgt. Jason Roe, assistant post commander of the Gallipolis Post, drivers should allow extra time for travel and maintain a safe distance following other vehicles. Paying special attention to bridges and overpasses can also prevent an accident, as they are the first to freeze over in inclement weather.

“Everything including accelerating, turning, and braking takes longer on snow covered roadways,” said Roe. “In case of a vehicle breakdown, motorists should turn on their hazard warning lights, safely position the vehicle as far off the road as possible, call #677 for assistance, and remain in the vehicle until help arrives.”

Another consideration to mind when stuck in the snow is to be sure that the vehicle’s tail pipe is clear of snow and debris, as a blockage can result in carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust fumes.

Preparing for the winter weather can help reduce or mitigate problems when the snow arrives. Making sure essential systems on your automobile are in working order, including the electrical system, tires, defroster, and cooling system as it controls the heater. Drivers are also encouraged to carry several helpful items in a kit in case of an emergency. Cell phone and a charger, road flares or reflectors, signs to call for help, a first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, small shovel, bottled water and energy foods, candles and matches, and a tow strap or chain. The Gallipolis Daily Tribune also published a full length article on preparing your vehicle for winter weather on Dec. 13, 2017 titled “Automotive Winter Preparation.”

To stay notified in Gallia County about winter weather level changes and other emergency alerts, visit nixle.com.

By Morgan McKinniss and Erin Perkins