Teens taught defensive driving skills at free program

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Hundreds of teen drivers will be walking away with valuable skills this weekend.

They are participating in a free teen defensive driving program called B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) being held at Purdue University Fort Wayne. The first two sessions were held on Saturday. Two other sessions will be held Sunday.

Professional trainers including current and former law enforcement officers and professional racing drivers are teaching teens and their parents how to be safer on the road.

“The key here is always to get more seat time. The more practice you get the better you are,” said lead instructor Brendon Short.

Instructors put the teens and parents through different driving exercises that will help them in real life situations. Everything from accident avoidance and skid recovery, to mirror and seating adjustments.

“The goal is to educate people on the proper techniques for driving be it seat position, hand position, or even keeping your eyes up. And we want everybody to get home safely, that’s the goal,” added Short.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the number one cause of death among U.S. teenagers.

That is something B.R.A.K.E.S founder Doug Herbert learned after his two teenage sons died in car crash in 2008. Since then, the drag racing legend has dedicated his life to helping teens navigate the dangers of the road with his program.

For parents, these lessons are priceless.

“Drivers Ed taught them how to be responsible and the rules, but never taught them what happens if you go off the road, if you are in a spin,” said mother Patricia Burk. “B.R.A.K.E.S. here has taken the time to teach them, hey look you don’t have to panic, here is what is going to happen. You can see it in the car, you can feel it and you can correct it.”

Sunday’s sessions run from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Spots are still available for the morning session. To learn more about the program visit this link.

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