Teen drivers get hands on experience at safety event

Posted By: Sarah Fili

sfili@klkntv.com

The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety held its Ford Driving Skills program Wednesday and put some new drivers to the test. They’re armed with a license but are still learning the rules of the road.

A group of teens 16 to 18 were put to the test, to show them how important it is to pay attention while driving.

“There’s so many distractions nowadays that i think just giving them an education experience more than just mom saying you know you shouldn’t do this you shouldn’t do that,” Lori Johnson, mother of a teen driver, said.

Some of the things they experienced were driving impaired by drugs and alcohol, what it’s like to be distracted and also, the difference a seatbelt can make.

“First and foremost we need to engage in behaviors that preserve our own life and by the fact of doing that help to preserve the lives of those who are in the vehicle or around the vehicle,” Tom Everson, Keep Kids Alive Drive 25, said.

The State Patrol demonstrated a rollover crash, with dummies who weren’t buckled up.

Teens also drove on courses that when triggered, impaired their driving, making the car impossible to control.

“It’s just a lot of distractions that we should avoid when we’re driving because it’s really dangerous when we do give in to those tiny distractions,” Leah Gahan, a new driver, said.

The new drivers also got experience inside a semi, saw their blind spots and how to avoid them. Event organizers want them to remember, safety first, because the person behind the wheel isn’t the only one affected by a crash.

“It’s all about relationships. There are only two questions I say people should ask and answer: who do you love, and who loves you? If those aren’t good enough reasons to buckle up.. I don’t have anything better,” Everson said.

The most important take-away of the day according to everyone: “The biggest message is probably be aware, drive with care,” Everson said.

The event will be held again Thursday in Kearney and Friday in Omaha.

Organizers say while this event may be for new drivers, even experienced ones need the reminder to buckle up, put your phone away and never drive drunk.