Columbus Dispatch, Alex Stuckey
Class teaches rapid decisions, better control of car
The third annual Key Bank Key to Safe Teen Driving program is making a two-day pit stop in Columbus today and Thursday to teach defensive driving to teens.
About 100 teens showed up today to learn how to handle bad weather, cars cutting in front of them and other conditions that could involve split-second decisions.
“(What we teach) is all about visualization and control in the car,” said Adam Andretti, a program instructor who works for Mid-Ohio Driving School.
This year is the first time that the State Highway Patrol has gotten involved in the program as part of its effort to continue the downward trend of teen car crashes. From 2006 through 2010, the number of teen-involved crashes dropped by 22 percent for the state and 26 percent for Franklin County.
The program, which took place in an Ohio State University parking lot, started with a 30-minute classroom session. Then participants hopped into their own cars to practice wet braking and emergency lane changes, said Steve Bidlack, director of the Mid-Ohio Driving School.
Students also drove the school’s “skid car,” a Honda Civic, in figure eights to experience how inclement weather can affect steering control, Bidlack said.
Columbus is the program’s last stop in its eight-city tour this summer. Thursday’s sessions will be at 8 and 9:30 a.m. and 12:15 and 2 p.m. at Buckeye Lot 3 on Fred Taylor Drive between Ackerman Road and W. Lane Avenue. The program is free to teen drivers with at least a learner’s permit.
Dan Davis, a Key Bank spokesman, said the bank invested in the program as part of its community outreach.
“The goal is to help teens thrive by teaching teens how to save their lives and the lives of others,” he said.