July 12--License to drive
Teens targeted with helpful course
Earning a learner's permit, and ultimately a driver's license, is one of the most important steps toward adulthood for youthful high school students. But let's face it. Teenagers have a lot on their minds.
And not every teenager who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle for the first time is properly prepared for the tremendous challenge and responsibility that comes with operating a motor vehicle.
That's why we were pleased to learn of a new course being offered later this month aimed at helping teenagers develop lifesaving reflexes behind the wheel. The Team Safety Driving School will be offered July 21-25 at Mitchell Stadium off Bluefield'sStadium Drive.
The eight-hour course teaches skills such as handling skids, threshold braking, braking and steering, and avoiding accidents.
The idea of offering this course locally started when Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Omar Aboulhosn learned that his cousin, instructor Norman Hamden, would be visiting Mercer County. The course is usually offered in Arizona.
"The reason I did this is that I have a teenage daughter," Aboulhosn said earlier this week. "And I would love for my daughter to take this course."
Drivers education classes in high school teaches basic driving skills, but the Team Safety course teaches new drivers how to come out of skids, brake properly and avoid hazards.
Each day's course can have up to 10 students. A learner's permit is not mandatory, but students need to drive their own car and have parental consent. There is a $150 registration fee, but the course will not be making a profit, according to Hamden. The fee covers insurance for the course and other expenses.
Lessons will be held in the stadium's parking lot during the four-day training course.
"Everything we teach at our class cannot be taught on the street," Hamden said.
The students will be instructed in what to do when normal driving conditions turn into emergency driving conditions. For example, students will learn how to execute emergency lane change maneuvers.
Football players and other athletes learn plays and other skills by doing them repeatedly so "muscle memory" develops, Hamden said. They reflexively know what to do and don't have to stop and think. Drivers can develop these reactions to dangerous situations on the road as well, according to the course instructors.
"Car crashes are the number one killer of teenagers because their initial reaction is the wrong one to make, generally speaking," Hamden said.
The Wes Hinkle Agency of State Farm Insurance is sponsoring the classes. Young drivers who complete the course could be eligible for a discount on their car insurance.
The driving classes will be conducted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., July 21-25. People who wish to register can go to www.TeamSafeDrivingSchool.org or call Norman Hamden at 928-254-5400. The school is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
We would encourage parents of teenagers across the region to consider enrolling their children in this worthwhile driving school course. Teaching our teens responsible driving skills at an early age will help to ensure their safety behind the wheel, as well as the safety of other drivers, on area roadways.
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