The leading cause of death for 15-20 year old children is car crashes.
This summer I spent $345 for my oldest son to take drivers education classes from a local private company. These classes are required by my state in order for him to obtain his licence when he turns 16. He completed 30 hours of classroom time (well, he was supposed to but the teacher apparently ran out of things to teach and sent them home early a couple of times.)
Now back in my day we completed the classroom part and then got our permit, the next thing we did was 6 hours of behind the wheel with an instructor who was responsible for teaching us to drive (unless you had my dad, who insisted on teaching you to drive a stick shift before you learned an automatic) and then we spent the next several months practicing what we had learned before taking our driver's licence exam.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED!
After obtaining his driver's permit, my son has to now complete 6 hours of behind the wheel, just like I did, however this is how it goes....
We called the school to schedule his first 2 hour lesson. When the instructor came to my door I asked him what he would be teaching my son that day. For his first lesson they went out and did a little driving, nothing on freeways, and then spent about an hour on parking. OK.
When the instructor dropped my kid off he told him to schedule his next appointment one month, (ladies and gentlemen, ONE MONTH!) before his licence exam for his second lesson, and ONE WEEK before the exam for the third lesson.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!???????
You mean to tell me that I paid $135 for behind the wheel lessons, and I'M the one teaching my kid to drive?????
What a joke.
I basically paid them to teach my child how to pass a test. Not how to use those skills in real life driving. And I'M the one teaching my child how to drive (I know a LOT of parents who are not qualified to do that for their kids).
I'm here to tell you that our driver's educational system is not only broken, it's obliterated. Save your money folks. Wait until you turn 18. And SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY check into the program that I am about to tell you about.
Three weeks ago I got a phone call message from a friend telling me about a program that was in our area. Both of us have sons who obtained their permits this summer. I am forever grateful to this friend for telling me about
This four hour course, carried out by a team of professional race car drivers, put my child behind the wheel and taught him the experience of what happens when your ABS engage (panic breaking), how to maneuver an evasive lane change at high speeds, and how to keep control of a vehicle when it's lost grip of the road (skid control).
All things that he otherwise would have first learned in a real life situation with no clue of what to do, because THEY DON'T TEACH YOU THAT IN BEHIND THE WHEEL!
Even I didn't know some of this stuff, even after 20 years of real life driving.
Did you know that if you are turning a sharp turn at too high of speed that if you break you are more likely to spin out of control???
With all the video games and hype in the media about accidents, you'd think that it would be very easy to roll your car over, or that it will burst into flames at the slightest fender bender. Not in reality.
This program gave my kid the confidence, skills, knowledge, know how, training, whatever you want to call it, to be able to handle my vehicle when a split second decision could save his life.
There were also a couple of hours spend teaching the kids about driving safety. They tackled the issues of seat belt usage, distractions such as texting, cell phones, cd's, taking your eyes off the road, where to place your hands, how not to hold the steering wheel, how to arrange your rear view mirrors, fluids your car needs, contact pads, tire inflation, blown out tires.... the list goes on and on. They related to the kids so well too.
Our own Minnesota Highway Patrol and local Blaine Police Department took part in this event as well. They showed our kids real life teenagers in Minnesota that had been killed because of not wearing seat belts, being distracted while driving, drinking and driving. The movie was very graphic. They didn't hold any punches. We saw severed limbs, crumpled bodies, mashed up cars, disfigured survivors. It was a very sobering experience and I think it was just the right touch to instill a little fear (if you have no fears, you'll never drive safe) and respect for the responsibility of driving, in the children watching.
I cannot praise this program enough! I cannot tell enough people about it. Please, if it is not in your area soon, sign up at their website for notifications about your area. It was FREE and was MUCH MUCH more valuable than a 2 hour parking lesson.
It could save their life.
These are some images from my son's day with the program.
I found a few posts other people have made about their experience with this program:
Any by the way... be a safe walker too. When you see a line of cones up, and on the other side are cars accelerating at neck breaking speeds and spinning out of control, tires squealing... do not pass beyond the cones, no matter how cool your hat is, it will not save you!
click to enlarge
Now I can only hope that my child's classroom instructor will go watch this program when it's back in town and maybe have a little more to fill up her "extra time" with.