Driving Simulation Course a Great Tool for Better Driving
July 24, 2007
There’s a new course called Tragedy Prevention whose sole goal is to educate drivers about the dangers of the road in the hopes that accidents could be prevented. This is an excellent tool for not just reckless adult drivers who need driver’s education training, but also for new teenage drivers who need to be acclimated to the ways for the road.
Book learning in driver’s education can only take teens so far. Practical experience driving the roads definitely helps but they also need to experience potential dangerous situations so that they can anticipate their next moves and possible avoid a fatal accident. This Tragedy Prevention course is definitely a step in the right direction.
While this course is geared toward reckless drivers who may have had privileges suspended, there is also a special WHEELS program geared just for teens that is filling the driver’s education need since so many high schools are no longer offering the courses. What is so great is that teenagers are put through the paces in a simulator with different situations such as a tire blowout, driving at night or even dangerous weather conditions.
Typically, a teenager will not usually experience this in a real life training situation. However, at some point in their young life, these situations may happen. And without the proper guidance and anticipation of a solution, these teens could die in an accident. The purpose of Tragedy Prevention is to ensure that these teens understand the different dangers on the road and that sometimes, they themselves are the problem.
This training class shows teens through various simulations exactly what happens if they become distracted by cell phone texting or even if they drive under the influence. For many teens, it is quite an eye opener to be faced with their potential of mortality. And while most have admitted to driving and texting or drinking, many vow after the class that they will not do it again. That is great news for the teen participants of the class.
With some money and luck, perhaps other areas of the country will offer similar programs. Only with ready access in each and every state can this class work for teens. So, if you do not have any program such as Tragedy Prevention in your area, look and see what you can do to try and bring it to your area. Talk with legislators at the local and state levels and see what you all can do to pitch in together to keep our teens safe and educated about the hazards of the road.
Engaging Teens Does Work for Driving Safety
July 18, 2007
Allstate Insurance Company recently awarded fifty $1,000 awards to various organizations that promote safe driving for teens. National Youth Traffic Safety Month was declared for the first time this past May. Allstate Insurance teamed up with NOYS (National Organizations for Youth Safety) and issued a challenge to these different youth organizations to come up with campaigns that could help decrease the number of fatalities and injuries due to teenage driving.
You might say that many teens all over the country took to the challenge and managed some creative, educational ways to promote safe driving for teenagers. How many lives has this effort saved so far? No one knows the answer. However, this $50,000 incentive has challenged teenagers to come up with solutions and essentially has put them in the driver’s seat. What better way than to engage teens at the very thing that is the problem?
By empowering teens to come up with solutions on how to save the lives of other young drivers, you are actually opening their eyes to the fact that maybe their own actions and habits are not safe either. This is actually a pretty ingenious move on behalf of Allstate Insurance and the National Organizations for Youth Safety. Everyone knows that teens sometimes just pretend to hear adults and lectures often go in one ear and out the other. However, by putting them in charge of coming up with their own solutions to this growing teenage driving problem, these teens are getting quite an education on their own and often will fix their own habits without prompting.
This contest likely brought many teenagers face to face with their own mortality and they probably did not like it. After all, most teens feel that they are invincible and have all the time in the world. Well, when preparing for this contest, these teens likely learned about the appalling statistics on the death rate of teenage drivers and how many of these accidents could have been prevented. That kind of eye-opener tends to make most people, especially impressionable teens, sit up and take notice.
An adult relaying this information will likely be met with eye-rolling and “yeah, whatever’s.” However, when you empower your teen to come up with this information on their own, well, they appreciate it all the more. Allstate Insurance and NOYS deserve some kudos for protecting new teenage drivers on the road. Now, let’s hope that your teens sit up and take notice too.
A Lesson a Driver-in-Training Will Never Forget
July 2, 2007
We all know that inexperienced teen drivers are dangerous to themselves and others. The statistics are very real. Auto crashes are the number one killer of young people, and yet teens continue to believe the worst won’t or can’t happen to them. For most teens, it would take the worst happening to them to learn about safe driving the hard way. That is exactly what happened to one teenager last week, in a tragic turn of events that will most likely haunt his life forever.
A 15-year-old teen driver from Oroville, California, killed his own mom when his driving inexperience led to a horrific crash. The Northern California teen driver was behind the wheel of the family car, being given driving lessons, when a maneuver he made caused the car to crash into a drainage ditch 10 feet wide and 5 feet deep. In the front passenger seat was his stepfather, while his mom and her new baby were in the backseat.
All escaped with minor injuries, except for the teen’s mother, who was pronounced dead at the hospital. The teen suffered cuts to his hand, while his stepfather fractured his collarbone. The baby in the back seat was unharmed. Though all were wearing seat belts, the force of the collision combined with lack of airbags in the backseat resulted in the injuries to the teen’s mother.
How could such a sad event unfold? Apparently, while driving around, the teen’s stepfather made the remark to “turn right here.” Unfortunately, inexperience means that the teen probably misunderstood the instructions to take a right turn as instructions to turn right away, or right now. This miscommunication came at a huge cost.
While it is easy to see how an crash such as this occurred, it is another reminder of how big a role lack of experience plays in the deadliness of crashes caused by teen drivers. It makes one wonder if driving lessons and all hours of training behind a wheel should be done on controlled courses. However, in that instance, teens wouldn’t gain the experience that teaches them what it’s really like to deal with the distractions and frustrations of real-world driving.
There is no doubt in my mind that this young man will feel at fault in his mother’s death, though it seems to me to be nothing more than a very tragic, ill-timed crash.
Teaching Teens to Drive: MetLife Offers Five Simple Tips
May 22, 2007
Many parents probably remember the day their teen received their learner’s permit and first asked to borrow the family car. For moms and dads, it can be scary to think of their children out on the road. If you taught them well, you can be assured they’ll make the right decisions when behind the wheel, but you can’t always count on other drivers to be responsible and safe. As parents, you may not be able to be with your children every waking hour, making sure they do the right thing, but if you have trained them well, then letting go of some control over them gets easier.
This is especially true when it comes time to teaching your teen to drive. Considering that auto-related accidents are the leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 20 years, it is so important for parents to be a part of their teen’s driving education. Studying good driving habits from a trusted adult has proven to help save the lives of many teens during their first year of driving. Lack of education and experience both contribute to poor decision making by teens, and parents can help with both.
According to insurance company MetLife Auto & Home, there are a few simple steps you can take to help your teen while learning to drive:
– Be a good driving example. Your children won’t always do what you say, but they will do what you do. If you teach them to follow speed limit signs, wear a seatbelt, and be sober — you better be prepared to follow up your words with actions. Even at an early age, children absorb what goes on around them. Being a responsible and safe driver will help your teens learn by example.
– Get a view from the passenger’s side. It’s easy to be a “backseat driver” when you forget what it’s like to be a passenger. If you’re the one always behind the wheel, take a trip with someone in the passenger seat, so you remember what it’s like to be a passenger under normal conditions. That way, when your teen drives you around, you’ll know it’s normal for mailboxes to whiz by at the edge of the road.
– Short and patient lessons are best. When lessons are short, your teen is more likely to remember all that was covered. Also, it leaves less time for either one of you to become frustrated and impatient. You want to end your lessons on a good note, so keep it short and simple.
– Write down your progress. Some states require you to record the number of hours spent behind the wheel with your teen, so it makes sense to keep a log of the dates you train, what you covered, and how long you spent. You can also keep track of what needs improving upon, so that it can be covered again on a future date.
– Keep your eyes open and voice down. Everyone knows that teenagers get defensive when their parents get angry, and loud voices and criticisms are sure to have the same effect. When riding in the passenger seat, it’s best for parents to remain calm. At the same time, keeping an eye out for hazards or irresponsible drivers is important. Alert your teen to any dangers, and even if they are able to avoid them, teach them about the importance of defensive driving and being prepared for the unexpected.
An information guide, “Teaching Your Teens to Drive (Without Driving Each Other Crazy!),” is available from MetLife Auto & Home by calling 1-800-MET-LIFE.
Create your own customized Parent-Teen Driving Contract online based on the recommendations from the Driver Education Handbook for Parents. Our interactive tool will help you and your teen compose a practical contract of rules regarding driving expectations and car privileges that both parties can agree on.
Teens Educate Teens On Safer Driving
March 14, 2007
Making sure your teenage driver is aware of the dangers of drinking and driving is always a first priority when preparing them to take to the roads. However, many parents and educators forget to stress the importance of driving without distractions. While drunk driving causes many accidents each year, just as many accidents and deaths are caused by teenage drivers who are distracted by cell phones, radios, and conversations with their passengers. All of these accidents could have been easily prevented.
State Farm has teamed up with a group of students in an Algonquin, Illinois high school to educate teenage drivers on the dangers of driving while distracted. Backed by a grant of $92,000 from State Farm Auto Insurance, this student group has started a program called “In the Blink of an Eye.” The group of students involved as come up with various strategies to help educate fellow students throughout the area about the importance of seatbelt use and the dangers of distracted driving.
Students have set up parking lot checks to remind their peers to buckle up and turn off their cell phones while driving. They have also put together presentations about safe teenage driving, including a safety education night for students currently enrolled in driver education classes. This offers both students and parents a chance to learn more about the effects of distracted driving, making the program a community wide effort. With a successful program established in their own school, they are about to take their message on the road.
Coming in April 2008, there will be a conference for schools in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, giving other students and educators the information and ideas needed to set up a similar program in their own schools. The conference will be free to any schools within these states. State Farm and the creators of “In the Blink of an Eye” hope to spread the message about safer teen driving and reduce the number of fatalities among teenage drivers.