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The Number One Way to Keep Teen Drivers Safe

Updated on October 24, 2015
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How Drivers' Education Can Save Your Teens Life

The number one killer of teens in the US and Canada is traffic accidents. Keeping teens as safe as possible while driving is extremely important especially to parents, physicians and law makers. Educated, informed, and skilled drivers are safer drivers. With education a young driver can make more informed choices about driving safely, and risks of driving with other teens in the car and peer pressure, the dangers and repercussions of being under the influence or driving while texting or talking on the cellphone, and instead use safe driving practices. With practice, they can avoid roadway obstacles and make turns more skillfully. Sending your teenager to a driving school is an easy and effective way to improve their odds of survival on the road.

Ask anyone if they are a "safe driver," even the worst drivers that you know, and they will usually respond immediately with a resounding "yes." Teenagers will almost always agree simply out of fear of having their car driving privileges revoked by their parents. Safe driving is much more than just wearing a seat belt and not speeding, and driving schools are taking a much tougher stance on teaching defensive driving strategies to students.

A safe teen driver grows into a safe adult driver. Drivers ed classes and in-vehicle instruction is an investment that helps keep your child safer for life.

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Dangers of Distracted Driving are Taught

Avoiding Internal Distractions

Driving laws are now focusing much harder on the dangers of texting or talking on the phone while driving. In many areas of the world, this is now illegal. In the days before cell phones, parents often warned their children of simply changing the radio stations too frequently, or of waving to friends as they passed by. Avoiding internal distractions has always been a valuable part of the driver's training educational process. Today, it is now heightened to a much greater level of importance.

The the very real dangers of distracted driving are taught and emphasized now in driving schools and teenagers benefit from hearing the warnings from their instructors. Many accidents and injuries are avoided because of the safety instruction.

Defensive Driving Strategies

How many hands should you have on the steering wheel at all times? And where should they be placed on the wheel itself? Most people know that we should always have two hands on the wheel, but we tend to disagree on the proper placement. Is it at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock? Or is it 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock? These are simple tips and tricks that are taught in all drivers’ education courses, but now these instructors are also highlighting some lesser known safety tips as well.

For example, parents often warn teenagers of potential dangers of the vehicle’s “blind spot,” but we rarely warn them of travelling in the blind spot of another adjacent vehicle. As well, most teens have no real concept of how much time and power it takes to instantly manoeuvre a 2-ton vehicle to avoid disaster. Driving schools not only provide detailed classroom instruction, but they very often take this lesson one step further.

Defensive Driving Obstacles

Many driving education programs are now including obstacle courses in their instructional practices. A multitude of real world examples are used where the driver will be required to make quick manoeuvres or stops, understand whose right-of-way it is, or practice the dreadful parallel park. This is always enhanced with extremely in-depth classroom instruction first of all the different possibilities and emergencies where this knowledge must become second nature. Of course it is possible for a new driver to practice these things on roadways themselves or with parents, but the confidence boosting guidance from professionals and the security of being in a controlled environment first is quite valuable.

Some programs are enhancing the practice portion of driver’s education even more with simulated driving in different vehicles. This is a great first step for younger drivers eager to get their license, or those who have anxiety with certain situations.

The Lasting Importance of Driving Schools

Driver's ducation and training will strengthen long term safety goals and habits for young drivers, and is ultimately a future investment to keep your teens’ lives safe because they will have the knowledge and power to do it themselves. Government initiatives and enforcement alone will not instil a safe mindset for young drivers who will harbour their habits into their later years. Driver safety is a societal responsibility that can, and should, start with parents and driving schools.

This lens is written by Derek Brown's Academy of Driving, a Calgary Driving School.

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