Student drivers need more practice before class - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Student drivers need more practice before class

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WSIL -- This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. It's meant to raise awareness, and prevent injuries and deaths among teen drivers. But many teens are struggling with understanding driving skills even before getting their license. 

Greg Storm, who teaches driver's education at Carbondale Community High School, says some students are coming into class with little to no experience practice driving with their parents or even sitting in the driver's seat to become more familiar with being behind the wheel. 

"We're basically trying to take them from a ground level and get experience to where we feel comfortable enough that they could ride out on the road way," Storm explains. 

Storm says student drivers usually do well when there is light traffic but have the most difficulty with intersections, "Just trying to decipher the right-of-way situation. They get kind of confused because of the multitude of cars, traffic signals, and pedestrians."

Cell phones are also another major issue. Storm says student drivers who are nervous about going on the road want to use the device as a way to calm their nerves, but they're not allowed to have it in the car. Without their cell phones, the students can have heightened anxiety. 

Cell phones are also a distraction for teen passengers causing them to not learn the rules of the road from their parents as they drive, or even simple directions to get around town. 

"They're riding in a car, but they're not so much paying attention to what's happening in the car," Storm explains. "Realistically, we've had students that we say take me to where you live and they go 'what way do you want me to go?'"

After completing the driver's education course, teens must finish 50 hours of practice driving with their parents or guardians until they can take the three-part test at the DMV to obtain their license. Storms does have some suggestions for parents wanting to help teens practice behind the wheel:

-Drive on both residential roads and highways
-Get practice with on and off ramps
-Keep the cell phones put away
-And most importantly, Stay Calm

Between January and September, 73,077 teens between the ages of 16 and 18 took a driver's test in Illinois. Around 10% of those teens failed the test. 
 

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