7 winter driving tips

Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 @ 3:14 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 @ 3:14 PM

5 Fast Car Tricks for Winter Weather

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, resulting in over 1,300 deaths and more than 116,800 injuries annually.

"Winter weather can be challenging for drivers, no matter their level of expertise," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelly Blue Book's website KBB.com. "Preparation starts by purchasing a vehicle with appropriate winter driving capabilities, and it extends to paying close attention to important details such as tires, washer fluid and other maintenance items that are critical to help keep passengers safe in inclement weather."

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Tips for Winter Driving
  • All-wheel drive counts. All-wheel drive aids acceleration and maximizes available traction, sending power to all four corners.  This comes in handy when accelerating from a stop on wet, icy or snowy surfaces and makes it less likely that you'll get stuck, particularly on slippery inclines.

  • However, the type of tires on your car matter more. It's important to remember that the tires are the only part of a vehicle that actually touch the ground.  As a result, they are ultimately responsible for the level of traction a vehicle will or won't have, regardless of how good its traction control, stability control, or all-wheel drive system.  If the tires can't grip on snow and ice, you're not going anywhere.  Snow tires (or "winter" tires) offer more traction than all-season tires.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all setup.  However, where you live, the amount of snowfall the area sees, and your level of driving comfort should dictate which type of vehicle and tires are right for you. Keep in mind that winter tires will wear rapidly in warmer temperatures, so you should be ready to change your winter tires out when the weather changes.

  • Be practical.  While the top option remains an all-wheel drive vehicle fitted with winter tires, if you're budget-conscious, front-wheel drive with winter tires is another good option.  Due to the price premium seen on today's all-wheel drive vehicles, experts suggest buying a car that fits your everyday lifestyle, rather than occasional needs.

  • Don't use a mixed set of snow tires.  Make sure to fit matching snow tires to all four wheels, rather than a mixed set at each end, which can compromise handling.

  • Have your vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic.  You should ensure your vehicle has all necessary maintenance performed, including checking tire pressure, fluid levels, the function of the heater, defroster, and wipers, as well as the health of the brakes, battery, and all belts and hoses.

  • When in doubt, slow down.  Even with a fully-winterized vehicle, staying alert and traveling at safe speeds are essential to driving safely in winter weather.

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What is freezing rain and how is it different from snow and sleet?

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 2:31 PM

What is the difference between rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow? Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs has the answers.

During the winter months you may often hear about snow, sleet and freezing rain. 

Each has its own hazards, but freezing rain can create hidden dangers on the roads, more than the others. Unlike snow or sleet on pavement, freezing rain can appear wet, but is actually a sheet of ice and will leave no traction for drivers.

WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Freezing rain forms in the clouds just like snow, but it’s what happens after the snowflake leaves the cloud that changes everything. During a freezing rain event the air within the cloud is cold enough to produce a snowflake. 

If the snowflake falls into air below the cloud that is above freezing, it will melt into a raindrop. This droplet will continue to fall as rain as long as the environment remains above 32 degrees. 

WHIO Weather App

Since cold air is more dense than warm air, sometimes a thin layer of subfreezing air may settle to the surface cooling the ground. If this occurs, once the droplet hits anything that is below 32 degrees it will freeze on contact. Typically, elevated objects such as trees, overpasses and power lines are the first to accumulate ice. If freezing rain continues for an extended period of time, ice may become so thick that numerous accidents and power outages may occur.

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St. Patrick’s Day: Freezing rain could impact celebration

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 6:53 AM
Updated: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 1:27 PM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini breaks down the next system that can impact your St. Patty's Day.

A storm system will approach the Miami Valley just in time for St. Patrick's Day, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. Early Saturday morning the system will bring freezing rain and possible ice acccumulation. 

Slick roads and icy sidewalks could be an issue beginning at 4am Saturday, and last through noon. 

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

  • Back roads and sidewalks may be untreated
  • Be aware of slippery surfaces if starting your party early
  • Winter Weather Advisory early Saturday so wear an extra layer for outdoor festivities. 


Prior to sunrise Saturday, freezing rain is set to move in from the west. This will become more widespread around sunrise and that’s when ice accumulation will start to become a big issue. This will continue through the morning hours but by 10am or 11am, we should start to see a transition over to rain as temperatures climb above freezing. Untreated surfaces however are likely to still be icy through lunch time.

>> 5-Day Weather Forecast

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WPAFB Friday Weather: Blustery start; wintry mix to develop early Saturday

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 12:34 AM

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—Sunshine will start the day across the area but it will be a cold morning, according to Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell.

RELATED: 5-Day Forecast

Temperatures will begin in the lower 20s by climb back into the lower 40s during the afternoon. Clouds will increase tonight as a storm system approaches from the southwest.

A wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet is expected to develop after 3 or 4 Saturday morning. This will lead to icy spots and perhaps a coating of ice on elevated surfaces to begin St. Patrick’s Day. Some snow may also mix in across the far northern Miami Valley.

RELATED: County-by-County Weather

As temperatures rebound from the 20s into the lower 40s in the afternoon, mainly rain showers are expected with improving travel conditions. Skies will clear Saturday night with sunshine and milder weather to end the weekend.

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 Three things to look forward to this spring

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 12:25 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 4:17 AM

Here are a few things to look forward to as we start a new season.

We are now less than a week from the astronomical start to spring. On March 20 the vernal equinox will take place, transitioning us to the new season. 

  • Daylight: The days will get longer. Daylight Saving Time helps increase the amount of daylight but naturally the days get longer during the transition from the winter solstice to the summer solstice. From Feb. 20 to March 20, we will see an increase of a little more than an hour of daylight.                                      Latest weather video: Watch our five day forecast
  • Low Snow: The chance for snow drops off. On average, the latest we see an inch of snow in Dayton is March 10. That doesn’t mean we won’t get snow in March, just statistically speaking it becomes less likely. There will be a greater chance though for spring storms as severe weather season kicks in.  
  • Warmer: It will gradually get warmer. The average afternoon by the first day of spring is 51 degrees. The angle of the sun and the length of day helps to increase our average high. 
  • Keep an eye on your daily forecast by using the WHIO weather App. 

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