You never forget your first one.
Your first driver's license, that is.
Remember when you first got your driver's license and you couldn't wait to get behind the wheel of your mother's station wagon? Funny how many things we'd eagerly volunteer to "go get" for our moms. Windows down, radio blaring, checking ourselves out in the rearview mirror, looking to see who sees us. (Never mind that you're driving a mom mobile.)
The carefree days of teenage driving. It's a rite of passage.
For today's teens, it's a rite that is fraught with responsibilities, distractions, and hazards many times over what we faced. Are your teen drivers prepared? Really prepared?
Car Accidents #1 Killer of Teens
Nationally, car accidents are the #1 killer among teens - and texting while driving is the #1 reason for those highway deaths, WRAL reported. Just in the first three months of 2016, nearly half as many teens have died in car accidents on North Carolina's roads than in all of 2015, according to WRAL.
Put that on your Twitter page and tweet it (but not while driving).
To the Rescue! Defensive Driving Schools for Teen Drivers
To help teens become better prepared for today's increasingly perilous driving environment a number of defensive driving schools and courses have been popping up nationwide, many here in North Carolina. This is not your father's Driver's Ed 101. It's Driver's Ed on steroids. Teens get up close and personal with roadway hazards by getting behind the wheel with a professional instructor to learn how to maneuver in an effort to avoid hazardous situations.
Here is a statistic from one such school - Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe). This statistic is so alarming, even your over-confident teen driver may stop Snapchatting long enough to pay attention.
There's an 89.2% chance a teen driver will be in a car accident during the first three years of driving.
The laws of rounding indicate that's nearly a 100% chance. But don't take away the keys just yet.
According to B.R.A.K.E.S, teens who have completed the free* four-hour B.R.A.K.E.S. training are 64% less likely to be in a car crash in the first three years of driving.
B.R.A.K.E.S is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering behind-the-wheel training in advanced safety maneuvers for teens. All of the instructors have backgrounds in various professional driving instruction, including racing, law enforcement, or stunt driving in movies. The school is AAA-approved, endorsed by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, and Consumer Reports listed the organization among its preferred list of defensive driving schools. KIA sponsors them by supplying the cars that the teens drive in the program.
The good news for North Carolina teens (and parents!) is that, although B.R.A.K.E.S offers training throughout the U.S., it is headquartered in Charlotte and offers monthly training courses at the Zmax Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as periodically in the Raleigh area. Here are some of the defensive skills they teach new teen drivers, according to their website.
Accident Avoidance/Slalom Exercise
The accident avoidance and slalom course is a two part course that forces students to make a split- second reaction to negotiate a quick, evasive lane change without losing control. This part of the course is designed to simulate an animal or object jumping out in front of a car. The second part of the course is a coned slalom course where students must negotiate their vehicle around cones while focusing on weight transfer, hand positioning, and eye scanning.
Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery Exercise
The drop wheel recovery course teaches students how to effectively recover from a drop wheel situation by regaining control of the car and safely returning to the roadway. Drop wheel accidents are among the highest causes of injuries and deaths across the U.S.
The distraction course forces a driver to negotiate a tightly coned course while being distracted by the instructor. The course is designed to demonstrate just how dangerous cell phones, text messaging, music, traffic, and friends in the car can be.
Panic Stop Exercise
The panic stop course is designed to teach students the proper technique to stop a vehicle in the shortest distance while maintaining control. Students experience first-hand the effects of an A.B.S. (Anti-Lock Braking System) and its ability to keep the wheels from locking while pulsating brake pressure.
Car Control and Recovery Exercise
The skid pad course is designed to prepare students how to drive in bad weather situations and not to lose grip (control). The students are taught how to properly recover from both over-steer (rear wheel) and under-steer (front wheel) skids.
A dad's testimonial about putontheBRAKES.org
"My son and I attended BRAKES at the LA County Fairgrounds on April 26th. Yesterday, he was alone driving home from a high school baseball game approaching an intersection, on a green light about 45 mph. At the very last second, a car turned left in front of him. My son hit the brakes hard, engaging the abs, and steered away from the car as he stayed hard in the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision. He attributed his reaction and collision avoidance to everything he learned at BRAKES. He described how, during the incident, he had anticipated the other driver turning in front of him and he knew the ABS engaged because of the feel and knew to stay on them as he steered away. The scenario was virtually identical to what he experienced at the school. Your school paid for itself 1000 times over last night. Thank you so much."
North Carolina Defensive Driving Training
Here is a list of some of the defensive driving courses in NC as of May 2016.
B.R.A.K.E.S once a month
Offers courses once a month at the ZMax Dragway in Charlotte. Four 4-hour classes are offered each weekend - two on Saturday and two on Sunday.
NCSHP Training Center, 380 East Tryon Road, Raleigh, NC 27529
Street Survival School Saturday, May 28th, 2016
NC Attorneys Evaluate Car Accidents FREE
The last thing we want is your teen in an accident. Many of us are parents and we understand how much is at stake. If you're in that unfortunate situation, let us help with the legal issues. Click here to contact us 24/7, or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.
*B.R.A.K.E.S training asks for a $99 refundable deposit to hold your reservation. If you choose to leave your deposit, it will turn into a donation, which is tax deductible.