Having a teen driver in the house is a big adjustment for everyone. A teen sees a car as freedom. Freedom to hit the open road, freedom to get their first job and freedom to escape with friends. A parent sees their teen driver a little differently. Perhaps your celebrating, it’s one less person to run to soccer practice five nights a week and one more person to run errands. Having a teen driver can also be a bit nerve-wracking. The 8 weeks spent in driving school and 180 days with a permit isnt nearly enough time to create safe drivers; a fact that is backed up by the CDC. Did you know Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens?
[infobox]In 2013, 2,163 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.1 That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.[/infobox]
Fortunately, teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road. Just because your teen has their license doesn’t mean they need to be given unlimited freedom. It doesn’t even mean you have to let them drive by themselves yet. If they are ready to drive alone, simple things like setting ground rules, curfews, approved driving locations and limiting the number of passengers (ie distractions) in your teens vehicle can all go a long way toward creating a safer driving environment. However, one of the best things you can do is get your teen enrolled in safety classes for teen drivers.
Programs like B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) help teens further develop safe and responsible driving habits through their free, defensive driving program. The B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School offers a four-hour course covering a well-rounded, hands-on curriculum:
The two-part course simulates an animal or object jumping out in front of a car. It forces students to make a split-second reaction to help negotiate a quick, evasive lane change without losing control of the vehicle. Students must navigate their vehicle around cones while focusing on weight transfer, hand positioning and eye scanning.
In 2009, it was estimated more than 5,400 people died in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver and about 448,000 people were injured. The course demonstrates the danger that cell phones, text messaging, and other distractions can pose while driving.
Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery
The drop-wheel recovery course teaches students how to effectively recover when one or more of their wheels veers off the road surface and onto the shoulder, regaining control of the car and safely returning to the roadway.
Teens often lack the experience needed to judge a safe following distance. The panic-stop course instructs students on proper braking techniques to help stop a vehicle in the shortest distance possible while maintaining control. Students experience firsthand the pulsating brake pedal effects of ABS and how to control the vehicle when ABS is engaged.
Car Control and Recovery
A wet skid pad simulates wet-road conditions. Students learn how to recover from both oversteer (rear wheel) and understeer (front wheel) skids.
Other learning experiences vary by school but can include an eye-opening view from the driver’s seat of a big-rig truck with a discussion about safe zones and blind spots, as well as demonstrations from police and fire-rescue agencies.
B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) and Kia Motors America (KMA) are working together to make the streets in cities across the U.S. safer by providing free safety classes for teen drivers. Registration for the lifesaving B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School instruction is open now at PutOnTheBrakes.org/Schedule.