Teen Driving Programs Go Beyond the Basics

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CARS.COM — As the school year winds down for many teens, it’s a good time for those inexperienced drivers to go beyond the basics of driver’s ed for hands-on practice with emergency braking, evasive maneuvers and impaired driving simulators.

Related: What’s the Safest State for Teen Drivers?

These driving clinics may be offered in your area this summer to help young drivers get more experience. The programs require that the teen have a permit, and usually some hours behind the wheel. Heads up: It’s always smart to get on the mailing list for these programs even if there’s no event currently listed near you.

The Ford Driving Skills for Life program is already underway. There’s a wide variety of locations on its schedule with more expected to be added. The program teaches advanced driving skills backed up by in-depth, online classes. Parents should plan on attending with their teen to get the most out of the program. Among the locations scheduled for sessions so far this year are Phoenix; Honolulu; Delaware; New York; Portland, Ore.; San Diego and Fresno, Calif.; and Dallas. Oh yeah, and the Ford Driving Skills for Life program is free.

Bridgestone Americas offers a Teens Drive Smart program. Like Ford’s class, there are opportunities for teens to experience emergency driving situations in a controlled environment. Emergency braking, skid pads and distracted driving scenarios get covered in Bridgestone’s half-day event. Classes are scheduled for Nashville in August and registration opens six weeks before each event. And guess what? It’s free!

If you don’t happen to live in a town where a driving school is scheduled, look into the Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe, or B.R.A.K.E.S., program, sponsored by Kia. It has a Teen Pro-Active Driving School comprised of five exercises: accident avoidance/slalom, wheel drop-off recovery, distraction, panic stop and car control and recovery. These classes require a $99 refundable registration fee, but you can also donate the $99 to the program. You can find B.R.A.K.E.S. events this summer in Pomona, Fontana and San Diego, Calif.; Raleigh and Concord, N.C.; Knoxville and Millington, Tenn.; Ocoee, Fla.; Hampton, Ga.; Englishtown, N.Y.; and Epping, N.H. The B.R.A.K.E.S. program also will come to communities or groups willing to put the time and money into hosting an event.

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