Experts explain what to do in ‘whiteout’ conditions

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s been snowing off and on all day in the Miami Valley. Experts at AAA say snow could spell disaster on the roads.

One minute you’re driving and everything seems fine then without warning – a whiteout.

Heavy snowfall can greatly reduce visibility on the roads and if you don’t know what to do, AAA’s Manager of Fleet Operations Chris Overpeck says you could find yourself in trouble.

“It could be a major problem. Most white outs happen with little to no notice, so yeah – you have to prepare for it,” Overpeck said.

Overpeck pointed to southbound I-75 as an example. He said when drivers travel from a highway protected by the winds to a roadway with open spaces on either side, whiteouts can happen.

“Coming out of downtown, you got a lot of large buildings that will block the wind and you get down into West Carrollton, Moraine, and it opens up – with that wind coming down, it’s very quick with nothing to block it, to bring all that snow into you,” said Overpeck.

That snow brings limited visibility and drivers might not always be able to tell if there’s stopped traffic or other obstacles in front of them.

If you’re traveling at highway speeds, Overpeck says, that can be “very dangerous”.

But there are some things you can do. Overpeck said, “Normally in ideal conditions, you’re following at least a 4-second gap, you’ll want to at least double that to an 8 to 10-second gap to be prepared for that whiteout condition so you can slow down and pull over if you need to if there’s no visibility”

Overpeck says if it gets really bad don’t stop in a highway lane. Put your hazard lights on, and make your way to the shoulder.

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