Teens get hands on driving experience - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Teens get hands on driving experience

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July 31, 2007

Thomasville-- For some teens, going to get your driver's license can be an intimidating experience, as 16-year-old Nicole Murphy can tell you.  "I had to make right and left turns, I had to parallel park, and he told me to do a turn around."

In fact, the whole experience of learning to drive is sometimes scary.   "Just the intimidation of having to drive, and going somewhere and having to have dad bark at you the whole time or having mom say something to you or this that and the other, it really makes you more of a nervous wreck trying to drive with them," says driver's ed instructor Erik McDougald.

With Thomasville High school's 14 new driving simulators, McDougald hopes they can curb this fear.  "It's just a little safer environment for them something that's less stressful.  And I think that's the most conducive environment for a child to learn, is in a less stressful situation," says McDougald.

After buckling up, a requirement to even start the car, students can practice every aspect of driving in just about any situation from heavy fog to heavy traffic.  "Its not that big a deal if they make mistakes on the simulator, they can go back and practice the course again and learn the situations that are going to come at them as an actual driver before they move to actually driving the car," McDougald says.  So when they actually get out on the road, they won't have any of the added stress, because they know what to expect.

Murphy didn't get to practice on a simulator, but she did successfully complete drivers ed, and it certainly paid off.  "I passed!," she exclaims.

For 9th graders at Thomasville High, the driver's ed program will be a required class. Tenth through 12th graders, and students from other schools can take it as an after school program.

Joshua's law went into effect January 1st.  It mandates that 16-year olds complete driver's ed and get 40 hours of supervised driving before they get their license.

 

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