Teens learn to drive safely
Fifteen-year-old Catie Moss is looking forward to the freedom which comes with a drivers license but admits she has a lot to learn before soloing behind the wheel.
"I just want to become a better driver so I'm not as scared and not afraid to make the decisions I am going to have to make" said Moss.
To help her sharpen those skills, her mom Allison Moss signed her up for the Rule the Road, a one day hands on driving experience for new drivers 15-18 years old.
"I don't want to have her drive 30 mph then slam on the brakes and see what happens on public roads this way professionals can have her do that", said Allison.
"This is hands on experience with a certified emergency operator. Were going to force them to lose control were going to force them to get out of their comfort zone a little bit" said Sgt. Billy Adams with the Westfield Police Department.
While teens tackled obstacle courses Instructors focused on hot button issues like impaired driving, drowsy driving, and the dangers of texting and distracted driving, a growing problem that is claiming too many young lives.
"I will be happy if I never again have to knock on a parents door at 2am and tell them their child is not coming home" said Sgt. Adams.
Sixteen-year-old Brian Heck says programs like this one help, but most young drivers are ignoring the warnings.
"Everyone does it and it's not that safe so I try to get my cousin who drives me to school to stop because it worries me but yeah it's pretty bad," said Heck.
While instructors are really driving home the importance of putting down the phone behind the wheel, they are also teaching some defensive maneuvers like pulling out of a skid. Techniques which will come in handy as we approach the winter driving season.
"It was really scary. It actually felt like I was flipping over" said 16-year-old Carin Ingram after experiencing the controlled skid.
"They see a big difference between 10-15 mph while they are not spinning at 10 and just a 5mph can really make a big difference," said one of the driving instructors.
While lessons are learned here, at the end of the day, this is only one day. Organizers say examples set by parents can make or break the future for a young driver.