My Daughter will be eligible to receive a license to drive in October.And, quite frankly, I am terrified.She is a horrible little driver.She has her driver training permit and has been practicing…but not nearly enough to gain the experience required to avoid a crash.We haven’t even been on the highway yet.She’s not ready for that kind of scary.And neither am I (apparently, I’m a screamer).
I had heard from other parents of new drivers that there is a program out there that teaches real life emergency avoidance and response techniques, as well as overall driver safety.It’s an invaluable “supplement” for new drivers, in addition to their driver training.The program is called DRIVER’S EDGE (driversedge.org).It is a FREE (that caught your attention, didn’t it?) half-day program for drivers ages 21 and younger.
The program does a national annual tour.So, once registration opens in your area, you need to hop online and reserve a spot immediately, as it is on a first come, first served basis.You can go to their website ahead of time and give them your contact information if you would like to be notified when they plan to teach the program in your area. The registrant must have a valid license or permit to attend.
The program in our area is going to be held at Texas Motor Speedway (how appropriate for my little driver).It is taught by true driving professionals through a unique combination of behind the wheel and classroom experience.And the program was developed to address the unacceptably high number of youth related automobile collisions and fatalities that occur each year.Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the U.S.And teens are four times more likely to die or be injured in a car crash than older people.Apparently males are twice as likely as females to die or become injured in a car crash.Perhaps that’s why boys’ insurance is higher than girls’ insurance. The crash risk is high during the first year teens drive because they’re newbies behind the wheel…inexperienced drivers.Unlike we seasoned drivers with many years of experience.Most teen crashes occur on the weekends, when teens are too busy having fun to pay attention to their driving. ..also known as distractions.Teens tend to underestimate or not recognize dangerous situations.And teens are more likely to speed, run red lights, make illegal turns, ride with an intoxicated driver, and drive after using alcohol or drugs.I know at least the speeding part is true.When I was a teen, I used to drive like a bat out of hell.I could have wallpapered with my tickets!But, I slowed it down after I had a baby in the car.There’s something about having a tiny, fragile baby in the car that makes one drive like a little old lady.And now that she’s a teenager, I just want to drive off a bridge.Funny how one reverts to old habits.
What Driver’s Edge will offer up?Every student has a chance to get behind the wheel with a professional instructor.These programs are taught by professional racing drivers and professional performance driving instructors.The experience includes evasive lane change maneuvers, ABS braking exercises, panic braking instruction and skid control instruction.In addition to behind the wheel instruction, they will also receive interactive instruction.Local law enforcement will be present to do a mock field sobriety test, compare the effects of impaired and distracted driving, show what to do and how to act if you’re ever pulled over, among other things.They also do a car care module which includes essential car care information, tire safety, proper seating, steering wheel and mirror positions, proper seatbelt usage, distracted driving and other current topics.
And, for those of you with some spare change, what a great charity to donate to.Driver’s Edge is a non-profit organization and public charity dedicated to one simple thing…teaching young drivers what’s not being taught in traditional driver’s education.Their sole mission is to help save lives with their unique and innovative behind the wheel program.And, to continue to be able to offer this program for free, donations are certainly welcome! And they’re tax deductible.
Until next week…keep those teen drivers safe!
(Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer and artist residing in Dallas, Texas)