The program provides newly licensed, inexperienced teenage drivers with skills to improve their driving and make good decisions behind the wheel. Rick Dayton, morning news anchor on KDKA-TV and Pittsburgh’s CW and host of Hometown High-Q, KDKA-TV’s Saturday morning high school quiz show, emceed the assembly. He was joined by a panel of experts from Ford Motor Company – Gwen Lewis, Co-President of Ron Lewis Automotive Group, Steve Rine from Cindy Cohen School of Driving, Pam Wahal from Allegheny County Pre-Trial Services, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Melinda Bonderenka, and Michele Johnson, a mother who lost her child in a vehicle accident due to distracted driving.
After each of the panelists shared tips on good driving and passenger behaviors, to reinforce their messages, students watched a video about the following four key driving skills. For more information, visit www.drivingskillsforlife.com/academy
You might think that hazard recognition involves identifying things outside your vehicle that can cause an accident. While you need to be alert about other vehicles and objects on the road, the truth of the matter is this – anything that can cause you to take your eyes off the road is a potential hazard. And that includes things inside your vehicle that can distract you and take your attention away from driving. The biggest source of distraction for teens? Cell phones.
As much as we all like to think that we can multi-task and do two things at once, the fact of the matter is that all drivers — and especially newly licensed drivers — need to focus their full attention on driving.
Statistics show that more than 40% of teen fatalities are caused by loss of control.
One of the keys to staying in control involves proper braking skills. You may have heard something about ABS. ABS refers to anti-lock braking systems. Newer vehicles come with anti-lock braking systems that are computer assisted. On older vehicles, drivers would have to pump their brakes when coming to a sudden stop; doing that can cause your vehicle to lose control and cause you to have an accident. With ABS, you stomp on the brakes, stay on the brakes, and let the vehicle’s computer take over — applying and adjusting the brakes on all four wheels until the car comes to a safe stop.
Excessive speed can cause accidents. There is a reason why legal speeds are posted on roads and highways. Safe driving is all about driving at safe speeds. We all know that exceeding speed limits can result in speed tickets, fines, and possible loss of your driving license. It’s a serious matter. Speed kills.
Another thing to consider is road conditions. Rain, snow and ice are all weather-related factors that affect your speed. When your traction is reduced, control of your vehicle is reduced, so you need to slow down and compensate. It’s basic common sense and that applies to all vehicles — even SUVs equipped with all-weather tires. Even the most advanced vehicle technology can’t override the basic laws of physics. We all need to slow down when road conditions are bad.
You must manage the space around your vehicle when you’re out on the road. You want to constantly monitor the space around you so that you have space on either side of you in the event that you have to make a sudden lane change to avoid hitting something on the road ahead of you.
The most important aspect of space management, however, is maintaining safe stopping distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Avoid tailgating. It’s common sense. If you’re following too close and the vehicle ahead of you makes a sudden stop, chances are you won’t be able to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision. So how much stopping distance do you need? Some experts say that you need roughly a car length of distance for every 10 miles per hour that you’re traveling. In general, you want to allow at least about two seconds of stopping time between you and the vehicle ahead of you and as much as four to six seconds of stopping time if you’re out on the highway.
A special thank you to Gwen Lewis and the Ron Lewis Automotive Group for recommending the program to Sewickley Academy.
Click here to watch the promo
that began airing on KDKA-TV and Pittsburgh’s CW on Thursday, April 18.