MEDINA, Ohio – He may be a newbie behind the wheel, but now Jack Ehrbar is trained to drive like a pro.
“I’ve always wanted to learn more about driving, just so I can be safer on the road,” he said.
Jack, 17, recently completed “Take Control,” a new driving class taking teenagers beyond the basics of driver’s education.
“So let’s say you’re driving on the road and it’s wet out and you’re sliding,” Jack said. “The best thing to do is let go of the steering wheel and let it kind of get back itself and don’t touch the gas or the brake.”
Medina County police departments have come together to teach the free classes on the third Saturday of the month. Students are taught to drive defensively, like through severe weather and other emergency situations.
Jack is familiar with the importance of driver’s safety.
His cousins, Erin and Andrew DePiero, were killed by a teenage driver in April 2010.
Erin, 16, and Andrew, 13, were heading to school, when a fellow classmate’s vehicle collided with theirs, as the two were pulling out of their driveway in Medina.
Chris and Laura DePiero have been at the heart of the Take Control program, hoping to prevent fatalities on the road. Nearly 3,000 teenagers die in car crashes each year.
“It means a lot to us,” Laura DePiero said. “We miss Erin and Andrew every day, and we know they would have done great things in this world. This is our opportunity to carry on their name and to know how proud they would be that they’re making a difference in this world.”
For Jack, he says the class has made a significant difference. He hopes others will be proactive and learn these potentially life-saving skills.
“Since the tragic accident with my cousins, I’ve always wanted to learn more,” Jack said. “I definitely feel more confident about if I were put in the situation if I were to skid or to be sent off the road, I would know what to do.”
Teenagers who would like to enroll in the Take Control class should contact the Montville Township Police Department at (330) 661-0122.
The class is free and space is limited. Priority will be given to Medina County residents.