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Teen driving course looks to improve road skills
Published: 03/29/2013 12:15:30
Young drivers hit the road with little experience behind the wheel. A teen driving workshop organized by the Taylor White Foundation is taking place in April to help prepare drivers for some more challenging situations on the road.

Carol White co-founded the Taylor White Foundation when her son Taylor was killed in a high speed crash "out the road" north of Juneau in 2009, just days after graduating from high school. Taylor's friend Thomas Emerson who was driving at the time had been drinking.

Carol told us about the upcoming course: "We're partnering with a group out of North Carolina that are professional drivers. Many of the instructors that are coming are actually professional drag racers, but some of them are just professional drivers. One of the guys said that one of them had driven for the President; so they're people that make their living doing this."

There are many defensive driving courses; but this one is aimed specifically at youth drivers. "We chose this group because they had done some research to discover what situations teens most likely get into crashes from. So, what were the really challenging driving experiences for someone who doesn't have a lot of driving experience? And they discovered that there are 4 or 5 that accounted for almost all of the accidents that kids got into. And those were things like skidding out of control on wet or icy pavement; the distracted driving, which we see lots of people doing with the texting and talking on the phone; driving under the influence; panic stopping, a moose or something runs out in front of them and they slam on the breaks; and accident avoidance" said White. "We really wanted to give that opportunity to our kids to learn how to handle those situations. So we've done a lot of work with prevention and really thinking about making healthy choices, and it seemed like it was just time to switch to really helping kids develop some skills that would be lifelong skills and good driving habits."

The course is free, though you do need to make a $99 deposit to sign up that is returned with the certificate of completion, which can also gain some drivers discounts on their car insurance.

Each 4 hour class starts with a short classroom segment and then the youth drive through simulated high risk situations and learn to handle them hands on.

There will be 4 sessions of 34 students each, on the weekend of April 13th and 14th from 8 AM to Noon, and from 1 PM to 5 PM each day. Registration is now open at the Taylor White Foundation website linked below. As of press time, the classes are already about half full.

http://www.taylorwhite.org/projects/driver-training

By: Mikko Wilson - mikko@kath.tv