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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

EDHS students learn to drive

by Sylene Argent

Being a good driver is a skill obtained over many years of experience. Fortunately, Essex District High School’s grade 10 and 11 students were able to get solid driving advice as young drivers, or future drivers, through the Teens Learn to Drive program, which was hosted last Wednesday.

  “The program focuses on the behaviour of driving,” Anne Marie Hayes said, who is the President of the Sweet Life Road Show, which puts on the event throughout the province free of charge, funding permitting.

  The students were divided into groups that rotated through ten strategy stations setup in the high school’s gymnasiums. The stations did not discuss the dos and don’ts of driving, they highlighted that if a certain decision is selected, this is how they can stay safe, Hayes said.

  The strategy stations topics included sharing the road with semi-trucks, which was organized with help from the Ontario Trucking Association. The youth learned about stopping distance needed, wide-turns, and the blind spots around a big rig. The students also learned about distracted driving, cannabis and alcohol consumption and their affects on driving, and road ready vehicles.

  Other stations highlighted how passengers may be able to voice concerns over someone else’s driving methods without creating conflict, drowsy driving, and the OPP was onsite to share with the students how to be safe in using seatbelts and airbags with proper positioning behind the wheel. The students also learned about the damage that could occur if an accident were to happen when a passenger decided to rest his or her feet on the dashboard.

  Hayes said individuals may be surprised to hear that many students often share stories of how there were only five seats in a vehicle, but six friends wanted to go out for lunch. The situation was remedied by placing an individual in the trunk. She said the students are taught that if an accident occurs, cars are intended to crumble at the rear and at the front to protect those in the seated area. The students were also taught that sharing seatbelts or having an individual on the floor are not safe options, either.

  The event also focused on pedestrian safety. Teens can often become victim to this type of incident as they tend to look at their phone or listen to music while walking.

  The feedback from the students after they participate in the event, she said, is always extraordinary. If there is time at the end of the day, Hayes said the students are asked what they learned. At a recent event, the students listed that they had learned 42 items.   


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