Category Archives: Safe Communities

Tips for Dealing with Tailgaters

Tips for Dealing with Tailgaters 

Tailgaters suck! While changing motorists’ driving behavior is unlikely, there are steps you can take towards a safer driving experience. First, always remember to stay cool, and do not let their poor behavior affect your judgment and ability to drive safely –– your life is worth more than road rage.

When you are being tailgated, maintain a safe and steady speed, and let the tailgater pass if possible. It may be necessary to find a safe place to pull over. In this case, signaling early is important to let the tailgater know you are letting them pass. To prevent a close call or potential collision, increase your following distance, communicate your intentions early, and use smart lane positioning. Increasing your following distance by at least 3 seconds allows ample time to react and slow down if necessary.

To learn more about traffic safety, visit the Traffic Safety Website.

Why Traffic Safety

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Lt. William N. Bowers, Commander
Bowling Green Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol

We all know the slogans: Click It or Ticket,” “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” “Stay Alive, Don’t Text and Drive,” and “Watch Out for Motorcycles.” We hear them every day, but do we really take them to heart? Do we honestly follow these messages every day?

The messages are simple and catchy, but only 81% of all drivers in Wood County wear their seat belt. In 2016, seat belts were worn in only 31% of fatal crashes, 13% of fatal crashes involved alcohol, 5% of all crashes involved some type of distraction, and 34 crashes involved motorcycles. These numbers are disturbing to me as well as my staff as we strive to keep you save on Wood County roads.

We all need to do our part to make Wood County a safer place to live and travel in. Look twice at each stop sign you stop at every day. Follow the speed limit, both in town and on the interstate. Buckling up is the most important safety measure you can take to protect yourself in a crash as it helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Seat belts are also the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Put your phone on vibrate, place it out of reach, and give 100% of your attention to driving.

Lastly, be an example to those in your car. Your children are watching every move you make, and you are grooming them for their habits as drivers. Parents often subscribe to a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality, but studies show parents are unknowingly sabotaging their teen drivers by not practicing what they preach. Parents figuratively beat teens over the head with the “never text and drive” message, yet many do it on a regular basis. Some 47% of teenagers have witnessed their parents driving without wearing seat belts. Let’s practice what we preach!

Guest Columnists Welcome 

This article showcases just a sample of the great programs and research conducted by Safe Communities colaition partners! Our goal is to reduce the number of traffic related deaths and injuries in Wood County through analysis of problem areas, promotion, and education of proper safety. This could not be done without collaboration from the community. Help us continue to spread awareness by writing a guest column.

Submit an Article 

Have an article that is related to traffic safety and would benefit the community? We would be happy to share it in our monthly newsletter!

To submit an article or write a guest column, contact Sandy Wiechman: or 419.372.9353 

To learn more about traffic safety, visit the Traffic Safety Website.

Upcoming Event: Towards Zero Deaths Safety Network

Upcoming Event

Towards Zero Deaths Safety Network 

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Safe Communities of Wood County is hosting the quarterly Towards Zero Deaths Safety Meeting on April 11 in the Bowling Green State University Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater. Join us for a presentation by Dr. Paul Atchley, professor   and associate dean for academic innovation and student   success at The University of Kansas. Dr. Atchley has been  conducting research and educating people about the cognitive factors related to driving for more than twenty-five years, and his work has been highlighted by national and international media outlets including the BBC, NPR, “Katie” with Katie Couric, Rock Center, and the New York Times.

This month Safe Communities of Wood County is highlighting Thayer Chevrolet. Since joining the coalition in 2013, Thayer Chevrolet has been extremely active behind the scenes. From helping to ensure that the “Swallow Your Pride, Call for a Ride” campaign is operational, to hosting press events, Katie Beakas and the Thayer Chevrolet staff are always there with a smile and encouragement.

When you are out and about, stop and thank Katie Beakas, Tony Lake, Trevor Newby, and Brett Kime of Thayer Chevrolet for their commitment to supporting Safe Communities of Wood County.

This meeting provides attendees an opportunity to build relationships with various disciplines involved in traffic safety, foster professional development on topics related to traffic safety, and recognize outstanding work by safety professionals across Ohio. Reservations are required.

For more information, contact Sandy Wiechman at 419.372.9353 or

Event Recap


Swallow Your Pride, Call for a Ride | New Year’s Eve Recap 

The 2016-17 New Year’s Eve “Swallow Your Pride, Call for a Ride” campaign event was a success. Safe Communities of Wood County began offering rides at 11 PM on December 31, and concluded the event at 4 AM on January 1. The event served a total of 147 people, which is down from 200 people served the previous year. We also saw a reduction in the number of volunteers in addition to the number of vans, which was reduced from 4 last year to only 3 this year.

Safe Communities always enjoys working alongside local organizations and businesses to benefit our community, and we are grateful to the community members who help make this event possible every year. Thank you to all the volunteers who donated their time to spread the message of driving sober. This continues to be a very welcome and rewarding program for the City of Bowling Green.

For more information on traffic safety and our upcoming events, visit our Traffic Safety Website.

AAA Talks Safety


Wear a Helmet for Safety

According to AAA and the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcycle fatalities have decreased the past few years. Unfortunately, the reported use of helmets has also decreased, causing many motorcycle accidents to result in serious head injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycles pose a fatality rate that is six times higher than the fatality rate for a passenger car. Safe Communities hopes to decrease the number of motorcycle-related injuries and deaths by encouraging helmet use as well as advocating these traffic safety tips:

  • Keep headlights and taillights on at sunrise, sunset, and in any adverse weather.
  • Stay three to four seconds behind a vehicle you intend to pass, and signal your intention to turn.
  • Before passing a vehicle, check your rearview mirror and ensure all vehicles are a safe distance behind you when completing a pass.
  • Wear helmets that are compliant with FMVSS No. 218. Helmets are 67% effective in preventing brain injuries during crashes; riders without helmets are three times more likely to suffer a brain injury as a result of a crash than helmeted riders.
  • Wear proper clothing, eyewear, and footwear to protect yourself from risk of serious injury or fatality.

Stay in Control: Avoid Potentially Fatal Risks

Distracted driving is always a problem, but combining motorcyclists and distracted drivers can be fatal. While riding a motorcycle, it is critical to stay aware and vigilant of your surroundings at all times. Motorcycles often get caught in a motorist’s blind spot, and they may be hard to see, making it even more important to look twice.

Distracted driving also poses a serious threat to motorcyclists. Reaction time is delayed a few seconds when texting and driving or messing with anything in the vehicle. This delayed reaction contributes to a larger risk of fatal collision with a motorcycle.

Motorcyclists also increase the risk of a fatal collision when they take their hands off the motorcycle handlebars. According to Seeker Digital Network, taking your hands off the handlebars reduces your control over the motorcycle more than if you took your hands off a car’s steering wheel; steering, braking, accelerating, and shifting are all comprised.

There are many suggestions to decrease the risk of fatal motorcycle collisions. One method is to complete a motorcycle safety course. Wood County and the state of Ohio do not require extra safety courses for motorcyclists, but Safe Communities of Wood County highly recommends taking one. The course will teach you about the state traffic safety laws that apply to motorcycles, how to avoid unsafe situations, and how to respond to emergency situations on a motorcycle. Course instructors will also provide tips on motorcycle maintenance. You will even have a chance to try out your new skills in a controlled environment.

Finally, we recommend always watching the weather for adverse driving conditions and wearing the proper protection gear at all times.

Keep Our Motorcyclists Alive


 Motorists can help make the roads safer for motorcyclists by taking some simple precautions.

  • Typically, motorcyclists are more inclined to take to the road on weekends, meaning it is even more important to stay alert and be extra cautious.
  • Allow ample space for motorcyclists to maneuver and react if necessary; alwasy follow three or more seconds behind.
  • Never attempt to share the lane with a motorcycle.
  • Motorcycles can be hard to see; look for them by double checking your mirrors and blind spots before switching to another lane of traffic.
  • Always signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic; this allows motorcyclists time to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.
  • If a turn signal is on, wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed; it may not be self-canceling and the motorcyclist may have forgotten to turn it off.
  • Remember, safety is a shared responsibility — do your part.






For more information on traffic safety, visit the Traffic Safety Website.

Swallow Your Pride, Call For a Ride

barcards2017Wood County Safe Communities announced today that there have been five fatal crashes in Wood County for the calendar year 2017, compared to three for the same time frame in 2016.

St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s most popular times to celebrate and party. Unfortunately, too many people are taking to the roads after drinking alcohol, making this holiday also one of the most dangerous. In fact, 30 people were killed in drunk driving crashes across the nation during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (March 16-18) in 2015. To keep the roads safer, WCSC is reaching out with an important life-saving message and warning: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

Safe Communities is teaming up with local businesses and organizations for the annual Swallow Your Pride, Call for a Ride event. The coalition is offering free rides to those who are unable to drive. Don’t wait until you’ve already been drinking to make your transportation decision. There’s no such thing as being “OK to Drive.” Just one or two drinks can impair judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested or causing a crash; killing yourself or someone else if you get behind the wheel. If you find yourself unable to drive this St. Patrick’s Day, call 419-823-7765 for a FREE ride home anywhere in Bowling Green. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

If you plan to celebrate with alcohol this St. Patrick’s Day, follow these tips to stay safer:

  • Before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive. You can’t do both.
  • If you’re planning on driving, commit to staying sober. If you’ve been out drinking and then get behind the wheel, you run the risk of causing a crash or getting arrested for a DUI.
  • Help those around you be responsible, too. Walking while intoxicated can be deadly, as lack of attention could put you at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.
  • If someone you know is drinking, do not let him or her get behind the wheel.
  • If you see someone who appears to be driving drunk, pull over to a safe location and call the police. Your actions could help save a life.

Remember this St. Patrick’s Day: Plan Before You Party! Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

For More Information:

  • visit
  • William Bowers, Ohio State Highway Patrol: 419-352-2481
  • Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator:
    419-372-9353 |