Icy weather highlights importance of moving over for stopped vehicles
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT)- It has been 20-years since Centerville Police Officer John Kalaman and Washington Township firefighter Robert O'Toole were killed while responding to an accident on I-675 in 1998.
"Anything can happen in a split-second. We saw that yesterday in an accident on I-75, one of our drivers happened to witnessed when a vehicle hydroplaned right in front of his truck," Chris Overpeck, the Fleet Operations Manager for AAA in the Miami Valley said.
Ohio's move over law applies to all stopped vehicles with flashing or rotating lights.
If you can't move over, you're required to slow down and drive cautiously past the stopped vehicle.
Overpeck and the other drivers at AAA know when the weather turns icy, it means they'll be busy helping people stuck on the side of the road.
"Whether it's snow, water or ice, a vehicle's tires can lose traction at any time. Having that extra space, especially when you're approaching an emergency vehicle or first-responder on the side of the road gives us a better, a safer cushion to be safe," Overpeck said.
A crash can happen in an instant. Officer Byron Branch was helping a semi-truck driver when another car smashed into his cruiser near downtown Dayton in December 2016. The cruiser then slammed into branch and the semi driver. Both were seriously injured. Branch had to have part of his leg amputated.
Lt. Mark Nichols with the Ohio State Highway Patrol says you always need to be scanning the road ahead.
"So, that you can try to anticipate things that you weren't looking for. So, if you see some things down the road or you see an emergency you can take some action earlier on and you can pay attention," Lt. Nichols said.
Lt. Nichols says you should also keep an eye on the vehicles near you.
"Try to anticipate that you might have someone next to you, in that right lane that's going to need to move over. So, if you can move over, if you can adjust your speed to accommodate them coming over also," Lt. Nichols said.
Keep in mind, there's not always the same amount of space on the left shoulder of the highway as there is on the right.
"Our drivers will sometimes have to be out in the lane in order to recover this vehicle and get it off the side of the highway," Overpeck said.
You can be fined and have your license suspended for not moving over.