A LICENSE TO DRIVE
By Andrew Temple
We have all seen the slogans, “Highway or Die ways” “Arrive Alive” Safety is our Business” or the more fearful, “Better be late than dead on time.” Many of us who have been behind the wheel for some time often get lured into thinking complacently about driving until that incident happens that wakes us from the harsh realities of driving.
The fact is that, driving, is the single most hazardous task we do in our daily lives. I believe we can all agree that distracted driving is a pervasive epidemic that has made our roads unsafe and treacherous. The realization of this hit home to me in a recent bus trip looking down at people on the highway texting and it was scary how many were doing it! It is so easy to do. Just a simple little word or comment and then I won’t touch it again, you think to yourself, then again and again. Many of us are guilty of this, including myself.
Having children that are nearing the driving age, it is deeply concerning to me. I have said to friends of mine “you don’t know fear until you are the passenger with your child driving 65 mph down the highway!” Like every parent, I want to ensure that my children come home safely to us each night. Unfortunately, driver’s education classes are not giving our children the tools, confidence and education necessary to avoid the dangers inherent on our roads.
A friend of mine recently took her daughter to a driving school in Virginia at the Virginia International Raceway called Teen Driving Solutions. When she returned, she insisted that we take our children. We enrolled, not really knowing what to expect, and we will be forever grateful that we did.
The instructors at Teen Driving Solutions (who are mostly retired police officers and race car drivers) put each student (including the parents) in stressful and very demanding situations and force them to repeat them over and over again until it becomes second nature. I will admit, there were many things I either did not know or had simply forgotten.
The lessons learned at this school are quite simply invaluable. Time and consideration are taken to ensure open lines of communication between you and your teen are established and are sustainable. Techniques and strategies are discussed and implemented both in the classroom and on the track. Teens learn to change tires, check their oil, inspect their tires and properly position themselves in their cars. These are rudimentary steps that are simply not covered at most driver’s education classes.
The success of this school was apparent to me during and after our time at The Virginia International Speedway but no more so than two-weeks after the school my son avoided a collision with a deer on his way to school only to be rear-ended by another teenager not paying attention and following too closely. I am grateful beyond measure that no one was injured, as it could have been far worse with a subtle overcorrection of the wheel.
The tools my Son learned at Teen Driving Solutions that weekend likely saved his life. There are many defensive driving schools around the country and Teen Driving Solutions is only one of many to choose from. If you have a child either learning to drive or even if they are young drivers, I implore you to please consider attending a school. As a parent, and driver, it will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.