A note from Kristen: This is a guest post from the founder of Teen Driving Solutions. As you may (or may not!) know, our oldest daughter got her learners permit in November which is a whole new chapter in our lives. With all the distractions and the aggressive drivers and a teen’s lack of experience, getting into a car with them can be terrifying but it’s a critical piece of learning that you have to do WITH them. Trust me.. you’ll wish for something simple again like potty training!
I know your child’s safety is one of the most important things. With this and the overall safety and wellbeing of our communities in mind, I founded a nonprofit several years ago. Teen Driving Solutions School aims to reduce the rate of teen deaths by car crashes – the leading cause of death for this age group and the catalyst for more than 400,000 injuries to teens (and skyrocketing insurance and medical costs) each year.
TDSS has a mission to change these statistics and keep teens safe. We offer hands-on training and class curriculums to teenage drivers in order to instill positive driving habits and reduce the high death rates of teen drivers. But TDSS is so much more than the average driving program. We stand apart in two clear categories:
- Other driving programs center the curriculum on one topic – helping your student pass the driver’s test and get a license. We disagree with this methodology and instead focus our courses on the skills and knowledge that will ultimately keep your teen safe. Our behind-the-wheel training helps prepare teens for real-world driving challenges (both avoiding them and safely recovering when needed). It allows them to practice these recovery techniques in a safe controlled environment. We also teach sound judgment, decision making skills and mental preparedness so teens understand how to avoid distractions and keep safe behaviors and habits.
- Additionally, TDSS incorporates YOU, the parents! While your teen is in class learning defensive driving skills and mental preparedness, you are in a seminar learning training techniques, ways to breakdown communication barriers, and the GRIP principles to help you better coach your teen after the class – Guidance, Review, Instruction and Participation. You also go through the same physical driving training so that you and your teen are on the same page when you go home and carry on the learning.
The incorporation of parents into the driving course is not only unique from other programs, it’s also vital. Our government puts the impetus of teaching teens to drive on the parents. It’s your responsibility to ensure your teen is prepared and can safely, responsibly arrive alive at their destination every time they drive.
Over the last two years, TDSS has helped hundreds of new drivers and their parents implement safer driving techniques behind the wheel. Only one student has had an accident since taking the class, though she was not at fault. With TDSS’s guarantee for success, she returned to the course to rebuild confidence and has since remained accident free.
TDSS’s two-day classes are for teens ages 15 to 20 and must be attended by one or both parents. The first spring TDSS class is scheduled for March 22-23, 2014, and registration is open at www.teendrivingsolutions.org. This will mark the first of eight Safe Teen Driver Courses planned for 2014. The dates for the remaining 2014 classes are April 12-13, May 24-25, June 21-22, July 5-6, July 19-20, Sept. 13-14 and Oct. 18-19. All classes will be held at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. at the North Carolina border.
Registration starts at $595, including both parent and teen participation, and classes are limited to 24 students. Registration is now open for all eight classes in the 2014 season. To learn more or to register for a class, visit: http://teendrivingsolutions.org.
About the Author: Daniel Wagner, founder and president, is a professional driver, a certified HPDE instructor and the author of the soon to be published book on Teen Driving entitled, “Don’t Get Boxed In.” He is also a graduate of the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and the Tarheel Sports Car Club Instructor Clinic. Aside from a minor single vehicle crash in 1973 (30 days after receiving his driver license), Dan has driven more than 1 million miles without scratching or denting any vehicle or being involved in any type of incident.