Survive the Drive III Event coming April 27
Free road safety training for teens
We have lost too many of our promising youth to accidents on our roads and highways. Every time one of these tragedies strikes, the whole community mourns and at least one family is forever altered. Dreams of college, graduation, a whole life of possibility; gone in one instant. Obviously tragedy is not limited to young teens. Last year we honored one of our community, a young Veteran, a decorated Veteran who after serving his Country in Iraq was hit and killed by a distracted driver. “I just looked down for a second” took one of our best.
The Roamin Angels, a classic car club with a philanthropic bent, decided at the end of 2016 to make it their mission to help prevent these tragic deaths of our young people, and reached out to the community for solutions. With that mission in mind, in 2017 Survive the Drive had its inaugural event teaching teens the basics of road safety in a one day comprehensive training that covers everything from impaired and distracted driving to knowing what to check for to make sure your car is in good driving condition and so much more.
“From a personal perspective, one of the sad jobs we do here at Real Graphic is memorial photos. We’ve done too many kids from Hwy 20 and 49 accidents. It’s a job we’d rather not have. Hopefully these efforts help. So many young people have died or been injured,” said Mike Hauser, one of the Roamin Angels who has taken the lead in establishing the Survive the Drive event. “We’re trying to help make this better. You can’t cure it but you can keep hammering home the point.”
Hauser laments how changes in requirements for driver’s education has made in impact on teen driver safety. “In our time, we went through drivers ed. Now, to get a license, parents certify that the kids have gone through 50 hours of practice on the honor system. No entity has to certify that. Private drivers ed is not cheap. If you can afford it, that’s a great avenue, but not everyone can” he said. “Driving is our hobby; not every parent has that background and experience with cars. We wanted to help impart the necessary knowledge to our local teens to help ensure that they are truly prepared and aware on the road.”
At the 2017 inaugural event in Roseville, the group had 35 new drivers attending the course as well as approximately 70 parents or guardians. The CHP and Impact Teen Drivers with an assist from GVPD did the classroom session, and many volunteers from nonprofits like Kiwanis, Lions, and Rotary helped the Roamin Angels pull off the hands-on training. Several businesses like Big “A”, Riebes and AAA insurance helped out with volunteers including County Supervisor Ed Scofield.
Knowing that for some teens and their families, getting down to Roseville could be a challenge, in 2018 we moved the training here to the Safety Training facility at Sierra College. That paid off in us having 60 new drivers and some 120 parents.
The event is both educational and fun for everyone involved. There will be seven or so training pit stops including a mandatory vehicle inspection and the famous distracted driving obstacle course. Last year virtually every new driver failed the course (that’s the point) and the kids suggested that their parents go through the course as well. Distractions can include conversations, radio, texting, talking on the phone, eating, and more.
GV Fire Department will show participants how someone gets extricated from a crashed vehicle, and Bart Riebe is bringing a semi truck so that the kids can see what big rig drivers see, and how easy it is to miss a smaller car in the rear view mirror. Durham Bus will give the new drivers a not seen perspective of delivering kids safely in our rural community. GVPD will have “drunk goggles” that mess with depth perception and balance to simulate what driving is like under the influence of alcohol or cannabis. CHP will have a seatbelt changing contest, and there will be other games and discussions, as well. This year CAL Trans will participate focusing on road conditions and how they affect vehicle stability.
There will be a mandatory inspection station to learn the basics about the vehicle the participants drive. This is a basic training to help participants understand basics such as: Does this car have a spare, should I use it, is it risky to change a tire in the location? The instructors show kids how to inspect a car including belts, tire pressure, etc., and teach them that it’s important to check your car over and make sure everything is in good working order; especially before you go on a trip. “This is rural Nevada County. This is mountainous Nevada County. This is snowy Nevada County. This is a Nevada County with generally poor or no Cell service,” Hauser said. “Help may not be a phone call away like in a TV commercial.”
Classroom sessions will again be under the expertise of nonprofit “Impact Teen Drivers” and their CHP partners. For emphasis one of the volunteers this year will be the sister of the young Veteran we lost. She and her daughter were at last year’s training and made the day very personal for all of us. On the happy side? We supply a completion certificate. At least one parent was pleasantly surprised at what that meant from their insurance company!
This year’s Survive the Drive Event will take place Saturday April 27th. There will be two sessions, the first from 8-11 a.m. and the other from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Participants must be 15.5-18 years old, permitted and insured. Exceptions will be made for good reasons, such as those who are a little older (up to 20) but do not have experience driving.
Drivers must bring a parent or guardian and bring the car they would normally drive. Preregistration is required, and must be made by April 24th. Participants get a $10 coupon for food at Big A. Young drivers or parents can visit the http://www.roaminangels.com and download information and the application forms. There is a $49 registration fee which is 100% refunded by attending and completing the session. “We have great partners who support or efforts like Big” A” so we are not doing this for money. It’s first come first served until the 60 driving slots are filled,” Hauser said.
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