PARMA, Ohio — Mary Kaye Speckhart’s life’s work is making sure people in Northeast Ohio perfect a basic life skill: driving.
“We go from ages 15 and a half all the way up to, we’ve had 90-year-olds,” she said.
A tall task here in our region.
“You could have all seasons in one day and I’ve seen it happen,” said Speckhart.
She’s the training manager at Professional Driving School in Parma. Spechkart said when conditions get bad, there are some lessons we could all use a refresher in.
“Following distance, speed, condition of the car, break sooner and have low beams on,” she said.
Increase the distance between you and the car in front of you.
“You should be no closer than 3 seconds,” Speckhart said add 1 second for each worsening condition. “That condition could be dark, it could be rain, it could be snow.”
Jim Garrity with AAA said people get over-confident on the roads, especially if they have 4-wheel drive or winter tires.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of car you have, it doesn’t matter what kind of tires you have on, things like ice affect everyone,” he said.
“They may have a little bit better control, but they’re still going to be faced with that black ice underneath that snow. They end up hitting that, they’re going to slide.
She said make sure you drive with low beams on so the rain or ice isn’t reflective and doesn't distract you while driving.
But the number one cause of crashes during the winter months, is speeding.
“Ice is one of the most dangerous driving conditions you can deal with on the roadways, so you have to be driving slow, you have to give yourself plenty of time, because even if you’re taking it slow and safe there could be other motorists that you need to react to,” said Garrity.
He stressed if you know it’s going to be bad out, leave early.
“Just leave earlier. Give yourself plenty of time, because if you’re running 10 minutes late for work, you’ll be more tempted to speed,” he said. “A lot of what you can do to prevent a dangerous crash is completely in your control.”