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Published on June 9th, 2014 | by Jordan

Do Teens Really Need Driving School? Here’s the Answer.

Today’s article comes to us from Anne Marie Hayes, internationally-known expert, speaker and creator of “The Sweet Life Road Show”, a free event (sponsored by CAA and the Ministry of Transportation) offered to teens and parents through high schools.  Corporate trainer turned driving instructor, Anne Marie became involved in driver safety to protect her own teen daughter, Emily. 


If you have a teen who is (or will be) learning to drive, this article is for you. If you don’t have time to read it now, watch the news on any channel for a week, then come on back here. The fact is, driving is the most dangerous thing we do every day, and teens have a higher crash risk than most because of their inexperience on the road. As parents, that should make you very nervous. But the good news is, there’s a lot you can do to help keep your teen safe and this is the perfect place to get started.  Welcome!

First, start them off right with a good driver training course.  Sorry parents – no matter how long you’ve been driving, you are not the best person to teach your teen to drive. People think driving schools teach ‘the rules of the road’ and vehicle handling.  They do – but they do a lot more than that.  They teach drivers to use their eyes effectively to scan the road for potential hazards. They teach them to strategize how to avoid those hazards and to leave adequate space around their vehicle for potential defensive maneuvers.  They help them learn to think ahead, so  they will slow down when roads are icy or wet – and so much more.

They also teach teens how to drive on a multi-lane freeway.  That means merging, accelerating, decelerating and driving with vehicles speeding by them on both sides.  It can be terrifying for novice drivers, and unless you are a certified driving instructor yourself, you are prohibited from co-driving with them on a freeway  until they’ve passed their road test and earned their provisional license (G2 in Ontario.)  However, the day they earn that G2, they can legally load up their vehicle with friends and head out  on the 401, which is now officially the busiest highway in North America!  Let the experts prepare them for that.

Some insurance companies provide an insurance discount for teens who take a driving course.  That’s a bonus, but not the reason to send them. Send them because you love them and their safety is the most important thing to you.  And before you say – “But it’s expensive!”, think about the piano lessons, hockey camps, soccer teams, dance recitals and other investments you’ve made to make them happy and enrich their lives.  They will be driving for the next 60 years.  This investment will make them safer and help you sleep at night when you hand over the keys.

Anne Marie is President of the non-profit Teens Learn to Drive and serves on the Board of Directors for National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) in Washington, DC. She is the author of the acclaimed activity book for parents and teens “3 Keys to Keeping Your Teen Alive: Lessons for Surviving the First Year of Driving”.   Find out more at http://TeensLearntoDrive.com.

 

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