Texting and driving isn’t usually a combination we want to see, but teens were asked to do just that at the Ford Driving Skills for Life event.
Professional Ford driving instructors from around the nation met in Orlando to teach more than 500 teens how to recognize hazardous conditions and drive safely in them. The weekend included four different sessions, each with some presentations and some hands-on driving.
Some of the drills included trying to drive a specific course while texting or driving while wearing goggles that simulate being drunk. Another activity involved riding a stationary bicycle. With the help of virtual reality goggles, teens experienced how bicyclists encounter and react to drivers.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Florida Highway Patrol Troopers shared the grim reality of teen death statistics and the consequences of impaired driving. Sergeant Anthony Palese guided the participants through a Distracted and Impaired exercise. Trooper Palese is recognized in the community for his hard work counteracting DUI incidents.
On Day 2, Melissa Wandall, advocate for the National Coalition for Safer Roads, spoke about losing her husband to a driver who ran a red light. Since then, she worked with state lawmakers to pass the Mark Wandall Act, also called the Red-Light Camera Law.
“Love ‘em or hate ‘em,” she said, “they save lives!” She lost her husband when she was nine months pregnant. Her now-16-year-old daughter has also attended the Ford Driving Skills for Life course.
BFF attended to help teach/remind teens and their parents about Florida’s driver yield law. All drivers must yield for stop for a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. Attendees got to answer safety questions at our BFF table and win prizes including a chance to win a gift card donated by Academy Sports & Outdoors.
We’re glad to see so many teens are taking driving seriously and learning the skills to be as safe on the roads as possible – for themselves and for other road users.