B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) is a free driving program for teens led by racing champion Doug Herbert. This pro-active non-profit has recently reached a milestone in promoting teen driving safety by instructing its 20,000th student since its inception.
Using vehicles provided by Kia Motors America, B.R.A.K.E.S. offers training to both teens and parents in an effort to prevent injuries and save lives.
How B.R.A.K.E.S. Promotes Teen Driving Safety
Located in Concord, NC, B.R.A.K.E.S. was founded in 2008. The driving school offers intensive half-day training courses that are free of charge to parents and teens. These courses include hands-on exercises taught by professional instructors. B.R.A.K.E.S. also hits the road from time to time in order to bring classes to teens in other states.
B.R.A.K.E.S. has proven to be effective at promoting teen driving safety. Teens who graduate B.R.A.K.E.S. are about 64% less likely to get into a car crash within the first three years of driving.
About the recent milestone his program reached, Herbert stated:
"Car crashes are the number-one cause of death among teens in this country, and we started B.R.A.K.E.S. eight years ago to try and do something about it. After years of hard work, we've trained our 20,000th student and the program continues to build momentum. Every event puts one more teen on the road that is prepared for an emergency situation."
Topics covered in B.R.A.K.E.S. classes include panic braking, crash avoidance and car control and distracted driving avoidance. If you have a new driver, check out their website to see if B.R.A.K.E.S. will be coming to your area. You can also promote teen driving safety at home by talking about and demonstrating safe driving techniques.
How to Encourage Teen Driving Safety
When you're teaching a young driver how to stay safe on the road, there is a lot to cover. Here are the most important topics to cover with teens.
- Texting: It is never okay to text while driving. Research shows that sending even a quick message causes a loss of focus on the road for 4.6 seconds. At an average highway speed, you can drive the length of a football field in that time. It's easy to see why texting while driving has been banned in many states.
- Phone Calls: Talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous too. Studies have indicated that talking on the phone while behind the wheel is the equivalent of driving drunk. And this is even when a hands-free device is used. Teens should be taught to put their cell phones away before getting on the road.
- Other Distractions: Distracted driving isn't limited to cell phone use. Eating, drinking, adjusting music controls and talking to other passengers can be distracting enough to cause accidents. This is especially true for inexperienced drivers. Remind your teen to focus on driving when they're behind the wheel.
- The Speed Limit: Speeding is a major cause of fatal teen accidents. So, make it clear to your young driver that the correct speed is not 5 or 10 miles over the posted limit. Remind them that they don't always have to keep up with traffic. Just because other drivers choose to speed doesn't mean they should too.
- Defensive Driving: Being able to drive defensively is an important part of teen driving safety. They should be taught to always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind and next to them. This will allow them to have possible escape routes in mind. Let your teen know that it is also a good idea to stay at least two seconds behind the car in front of them.
- The Car: You probably don't want to spend a fortune on your teen's first car. But you should pick a vehicle that comes with a decent amount of safety equipment and an excellent crash safety record. Look for a recent model used car that comes with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and air bags.
And remember that a lot of what your teen learns about safe driving will come from watching you. So, provide a good example by following safe driving habits whenever you're behind the wheel. Teen driving safety starts at home with parents who are willing to be good role models.
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