As milestones go, putting teens behind the wheel is a biggie.
That's why my recent column detailing the saga of getting Sturgis Kids 1.0 through 3.0 licensed to drive drew such a large response.
That's why a bill awaiting Gov. Corbett's signature restricts the number of passengers for teens with junior driver's licenses, makes teens driving without seat belts a primary offense, and adds 15 hours to the current 50 hours of pretest driving training.
With National Teen Driver Safety Week coming next week, I thought it was a good opportunity to share more resources available for teaching Your Kid 1.0 (or whichever version you may have in training).
Training session this Saturday. I'd like to try this myself: Having instructors show me how to put my car into a skid on wet pavement, or try driving on the slalom.
Teens get the chance to do it this Saturday at the Tirerack.com Street Survival event starting at 8 a.m. at Warminster Community Park at Bristol and Hatboro Roads in Warminster.
Jeff Jacobs, Philadelphia region executive for the Sports Car Club of America, said his group sponsors a couple of the events each year to give teens a chance to learn how their own car will handle different situations, and to get feedback on how to improve their responses.
"These schools aren't about competition, but more about getting experience behind the wheel," Jacobs said.
For the $75 entrance fee to cover insurance and site rental, students get hands-on experience and classroom time at the daylong course. Jacobs said the group encourages teens to use the vehicle they'd be driving most frequently.
More information about Street Survival, a look at other events in the region and sign-ups for the few spots left this Saturday is available at www.streetsurvival.org.
Keys2Drive. AAA introduced this website (www.aaa.com/teendriving) one year ago.
The site is not limited to AAA members, and includes information on state licensing requirements, sample questions from state exams, insurance and vehicle considerations, and a short quiz for new drivers (and old ones) to consider how much they know about the rules of the road.
Keys2Drive gets about 50,000 visitors a month and has had 500,000 page views since its launch, said Jenny Robinson, manager of Philadelphia Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
One highlight of the site is the AAA StartSmart Parent-Teen Driving Agreement, which allows parents and teens to have a written agreement about driving rules and expectations, Robinson said.
National Teen Driver Safety Week. In its fifth year, the event grew out of data collected from the National Young Driver Survey, where teens described their driving experiences and perceptions, said Suzanne Hill, director of advocacy and outreach for the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The hospital and State Farm, the insurer, collaborated on the survey.
"To this day, CHOP researchers are publishing research papers in scientific publications that use this data set to fill in gaps in the science of teen driver safety," Hill said.
This year, the theme is giving parents support as the main instructors for teen drivers.
On the website www.teendriversource.org, CHOP provides more resources for teen drivers, parents, educators, and policymakers.
Legislative support. The new Pennsylvania law is one that AAA has backed during its five years of back-and-forth lobbying in Harrisburg. It will limit the number of nonfamily passengers a teen with a junior license can have in the vehicle, starting 60 days after Gov. Corbett signs the legislation, which is expected any day.
Robinson said parents can set rules for kids but the law provides "another weapon in the arsenal."
"When it becomes a state law for which a person can get cited, that really adds some weight to it as well," Robinson said.
1. The recommended hand position on the steering wheel is 9 and 3 (as in hands of a clock.)
2. If you experience a tire blow-out, you should firmly apply the brakes immediately to reduce speed.
3. To regain traction when the rear of your vehicle begins to skid, you should gently apply the brakes.
4. You are guaranteed the right of way if you are first to arrive at an intersection.
5. From the normal driving position, you should not be able to see the sides of your vehicle when looking into the side mirrors.
1. True. 10 and 2 used to be preferred before airbags became standard.
2. False. Ease off the accelerator and coast to reduce speed while regaining control.
3. False. Hitting the brake could make things worse. Keep your eye on your target and your hands and feet should get you where you aim.
4. False. No guarantees in driving. Pay attention to what other drivers are doing or may do.
5. True. Angling the mirrors out a bit more gives you better view of your blind spots.
SOURCE: AAA teendriving.aaa.org