Getting a driver’s license is right of passage that many kids can’t wait to achieve but for many parents, sending their kids off to navigate the open road alone can be a terrifying experience. When you consider the scary statistics behind teen drivers, it’s no wonder many find it hard to let them go on their own. Teen drivers have the highest crash rate of any age group which is nine times as high as drivers who are 20 years of age and up, and six times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults.


While Michigan has adapted its driver’s license program to include graduated licensing to give teens time to gain experience before they gain full driving privileges without restrictions, many parents still wonder if there is more they can do to prepare their new drivers for the unexpected and the surprising answer is yes! Recognizing the need to show teen drivers how to deal with the unexpected, a few different teenage defensive driving programs have been developed to show teens how to handle the vehicle they’re driving in a safe environment before the need arises. In fact, recent studies have shown that teens who complete similar programs are 64% LESS likely to be involved in an accident their first year of driving when compared to their teen counterparts who had not taken a defensive driving course. Additionally, those that complete these courses could also be eligible for discounts from their insurance companies, giving parents not just peace of mind and money in their pockets.



Michigan State Police Teenage Defensive Driving Course

Michigan State Police are arguably some of the best drivers in the world and as such, train recruits from the academy and law enforcement officers from around the world.  As their website states, this class gives teens a chance to “Train like a Trooper”, with the same instructors and over the same closed course that recruits and FBI agents actually train on! Over the course of four hours, teens learn with hands-on training on how to effectively navigate defensive driving in areas with practical exercises in serpentine, controlled braking, evasive maneuvering and skid control. Class sizes are capped at 16 pupils so driver to instructor ratio is a max of 2:1 and offered to drivers between the ages of 16-19. While previously, there was a four year waiting list, recent changes to class curriculum and length have allowed State Troopers to double the number of students they can train, reducing the waiting list now to one year. You can find more information and get your teen added to the 2020 waiting list by visiting here. Class cost is $75 and participants are required to hold a Graduated Level 2 license.



Ford Driving Skills For Life

Celebrating their “Sweet 16” this year, the Ford Driving Skills For Life works to take driving skills to a higher level beyond driver’s training and teach young drivers practical skills they’ll be able to utilize throughout their lifetime to keep themselves and others safer on the road.

As Ford Driving Skills for Life continues to move forward and adapt to changing driver behaviors and new road safety concerns, the program will again introduce innovative tools and add specialized programming to enhance the learning experience for new drivers.  Highlights of this year’s Ford Driving Skills for Life program include innovative new sleep suit technology to demonstrate the dangers of drowsy driving, new training module to explain how to use ever-improving vehicle safety technology, expanded program for the unique circumstances of driving in rural and emerging markets, addition of a parent module to assist in teen training away from Driving Skills for Life events and U.S. communities that are new participants in the program’s hands-on training.




B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) is a non-profit 501(c)3 whose mission is to prevent injuries and save lives by training and educating teenage drivers and their parents about the importance of safe and responsible driving. A FREE program for drivers between the ages of 15-19 with a valid driver’s permit or driver’s license in 18 different states, it was started by NHRA drag racing star Doug Herbert after losing his two young sons, Jon and James, in a tragic car crash in January of 2008. Resolving to put together a program to save other families from the heartbreak of losing a child behind the wheel, he put together a program to teach young drivers the necessary advanced skills to build confidence and keep them safe including collision avoidance, off-road recovery, skid recovery, distraction exercises and panic stop.



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