By AAA of Western and Central New York
National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from Oct. 16-22. This is a perfect time for parents to talk with teen drivers about the importance of safety behind the wheel. AAA research shows that more than 60% of teens get their driver’s license before the age of 18. Young drivers benefit from professional, one-on-one training to understand the rules of the road and their responsibilities. Driving instructors also take some of the stress away from parents who struggle with teaching their children how to navigate a vehicle.
Driver training begins with a five-hour prelicensing course, which is required in New York to schedule a road test to obtain a driver’s license. AAA was one of the first to offer a virtual five-hour class, where instructors share images and videos and even answer questions from students, with an interactive experience that is extremely convenient and popular with today’s young drivers.
“Taking the five-hour course virtually couldn’t be easier since AAA offers a variety of scheduling options for students to choose from, which is very efficient,” said Mike Formanowicz, AAA driver training manager. “The virtual course, coupled with hands-on, in-car experience with a skilled instructor through a variety of routes and in different weather conditions, prepares young drivers for safety and success behind the wheel.”
AAA driving instructors are New York state DMV-certified and receive 33% more training than is mandated to assure the quality and effectiveness of instruction. Lessons with AAA’s professional instructors are 45 minutes long and provide expertise and guidance and include an immediate review and assessment.
Past research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that, for every mile driven, new teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash. It’s never too soon for parents to talk to teen drivers about safety. In fact, parents are also encouraged to take a defensive driving course through AAA to refresh their driving skills, earn insurance discounts, and set a good example for young drivers.
When it comes to new drivers, AAA recommends that, regardless of their age when first learning to drive, new drivers should remember to “R.E.A.D. the road” to minimize their risk of a crash:
√ R = Right speed, for right now: Always mind the speed limit and reduce speed when driving in adverse weather.
√ E = Eyes up, brain on: Always scan the road to anticipate dangers ahead. Eliminate distractions and keep your mind focused on the task of driving.
√ A = Anticipate their next move: Be aware of other drivers on the road. Anticipate their next move and always have a plan to respond.
√ D = Doughnut of space around your vehicle: Keep large amounts of space to the front and sides of the vehicle.
Students who need more information can go online to www.AAA.com/DriverTraining where they can enroll in online courses or call (800) 836-2582. AAA is also recruiting driving instructors. Learn more at www.AAA.com/Careers.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.