News | Nov. 11, 2015

Associates urged to prepare for safe driving this winter season

By Michael Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

Driving the appropriate speed for road conditions and preparing your vehicle are critical to driving safely in the upcoming winter months, a member of the Franklin County Safety Community said Nov. 4 during Defense Supply Center Columbus’ Safe Winter Driving Program at the Building 20 auditorium.

“One of the main comments that comes out when we review (local) traffic fatalities is drivers weren’t driving for the road conditions,” Andrea Hauser said. “It’s what you want to think about when you’re driving in the winter—is my speed appropriate for the road conditions? If it’s a clear, sunny day, go the speed limit. If ice and snow is on the road, slow down.”

Hauser said that there are 6,250 people killed and another 480,000 injured in weather-related crashes a year in the U.S. She provided tips for winter driving and recommendations on how to prepare both the vehicle and driver for winter driving.

“Cold weather causes your batteries to lose their charge—check your batteries, make sure they’re fully charged,” she said. “It’s important to know which kind of brake system your car has. If you have an older car without antilock brakes, pump gently during a spin. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply steady pressure.”

Equally important, Hauser said, is to perform only one action at a time, such as braking, accelerating, or turning. Trying to ask your vehicle to do two things at once reduces the ability you have to control your vehicle in hazardous road conditions. You should also accelerate slowly. Doing that reduces wheel spin and increases traction, allowing tires to connect with the road
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ABC-6 (WSYX) Investigative Reporter Tom Sussi discussed distracted driving. Spanning two decades, his investigative reports have earned him numerous awards, including Emmys in both Michigan and Ohio. Sussi played some of his reports that aired and gave his thoughts on the topic, including interviews with parents who lost children in accidents related to texting-and-driving.

In one report, a driver was videotaped driving while making a purchase on his phone and inputting his credit card information. In another, a woman was editing pictures on her phone.
“We all have to be responsible for our actions,” Sussi said. “We have to make that choice not to text-and-drive, not to drink-and-drive, that we’re going to be safer behind the wheel of a car.

“There are deadly consequences, like the one mother who lost her son. It doesn’t get more horrible than that. These reports may not change your behavior but may make you think twice about what you do behind the wheel of a vehicle.”

In 2012, a law was enacted in the state of Ohio that prohibits a person who is less than 18 years of age from using in any manner, an electronic wireless communications device while driving and prohibits texting while driving. A second offense carries a license suspension of one-year. Sussi said he has yet to find that the law has curbed misuse of mobile devices while driving.

Associates should also prepare for holiday parties coming up. While it’s encouraged to have a good time with family and friends, it’s vital to find a designated driver or safe way home if you think you’ll be drinking.