Driving is no joke and needs to be taken seriously. It’s a huge responsibility. But that doesn’t mean learning about safe driving can’t be fun.
Last fall, students at my high school were asked to participate in a teen driving video project. I had just passed my driver safety test 10 months earlier, and I was eager to help. We were asked to share our driving experiences as well as lessons we’ve learned about driver and passenger safety.
To help make the Lessons Learned video, I shared something I learned the hard way. One day, while getting dropped off for school, I was a passenger and I had unbuckled my seat belt as we approached the building. A woman was not paying attention, and she walked right in front of our car. My mom slammed on the brakes, my body flew forward and my head hit and cracked the windshield.
That experience taught me to always wear my seat belt when the car is in motion. My mom wasn’t going more than 5 mph and I was still able to crack the windshield from the impact. Just imagine if we were driving 20 mph or on the highway! I would have gone right through the windshield.
The stories teens share in Lessons Learned are really eye opening and show that crashes can and will happen. I want teens to understand the reality that driving smarter is so much easier than trying to do a bunch of things like texting or putting on makeup on your way to a destination you may never get to.
In addition to Lessons Learned video, parents and teens can also watch a video to learn about Wisconsin’s Graduated Driver License law. Graduated Driver Licensing helps reduce risks by making sure teens gradually build driving experience under lower risk conditions.
The video walks you through the stages of Wisconsin’s Graduated Driver Licensing law and gives information on how many hours are needed behind the wheel before taking the driving test, how many people are allowed in the car, and what restrictions teens have after getting a license.
A third video called Practice Matters is pretty darn funny but drives home a serious message. It shows that, just like learning an instrument or playing a sport, learning and building driving skills takes lots and lots of practice.
I’m proud to have played a role in educating and inspiring teens to take driving seriously. It’s a huge responsibility we are entrusted with, and we need to be confident, careful and practiced drivers in order to keep everyone safe on the road.
Crossroads Teen Driving offers education and resources to parents, teens and the community about reducing risks associated with teen driving. Crossroads is a program of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and the videos were produced in partnership with State Farm and Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). Visit crossroadsteendriving.org to learn more.