A Blind Brook High School Student Publication
In Control Driving By Rebecca Weiss ‘19 9 years ago around Christmas time, Michael Blank was speeding down King Street when he crashed into a telephone pole, resulting in a fatal accident. There were no drugs involved and the weather was not bad, he was simply speeding. Had Michael been taught how to properly brake in emergency situations it might have saved his life. So every December, juniors and seniors at Blind Brook are offered the opportunity to go on the day-long In Control Driving trip. “The incontrol driving program is a 12 hour day where students take a bus to Massachusetts and practice driving techniques and learn information Photo Courtesy of In Control Crash Prevention Training that is useful in case of emergency” A typical vehicle used by students during an In Control course. explained senior Isabel Steinberg, telling their story across Westchester Country in or“examples of these are slaloming, quick breaking, proper tire care, and the ins and outs der to prevent other families from experiencing what they did. While listening to the story touches people of the automatic braking system.” The trip is run by a company in Massachusetts, in an emotional way, the trip comforts people by alcalled In Control Crash Prevention. In 2007, they lowing them to know that they have the skills to drive became the first state certified Driver Skills Develop- in any situation. ment Program in the US and they continue to be an Although many students take Drivers Education in exemplar for crash prevention training today. Fatal order to get their senior license as 17 instead of 18, car crashes are the most common cause of death for the In Control Driving course teaches a completely teens, but In Control has been proven to reduce acci- different set of skills. In Driver’s ed students practice dents in those students who take their course by 70%. driving on roads and parking in general whereas in “Before going to the course I thought it would be this course, students are able to speed and they exjust like drivers education” stated junior Sean Keilman. perience dangerous situations while learning how to “To my surprise though instead of a sitting through properly solve them. a long, boring lecture course I was going 50 mph in a In Control’s program is similar to what many European countries have as their regular Driver’s Educaparking lot and then quickly stopping.” The students go through hands on training, driving tion. These countries that have this type of program in an open lot, where they face many dangers that are have significantly lower crashes. Although students posed to drivers today, including anti text messaging, may not want to go at first, many of them enjoy the tailgating, and over and under steering training. Giv- empowering feeling they gain afterwards of undering the experience to these young drivers is crucial to standing how to control a car. forming good habits while they are still just begin- Although Blind Brook takes just juniors and seniors ning to learn to drive. This hands on training is then on the trip, In Control is not just for new or inexpesupplemented with classroom learning where the stu- rienced drivers. In fact, they encourage adults and dents are taught about situational and airbag aware- seniors to attend their programs too. While people ness, impaired driving, road rage, and vehicle assess- are more likely to get in a crash within the first few hundred hours of driving, car crashes are still among ment. In April in order for the juniors to receive their park- the highest causes of death for adults under 45. Ading passes for the Blind Brook parking lot, they must ditionally, as people age their reaction time increases attend an annual assembly given by Tina and Rick and their mobility decreases so it is just as important Blank, Michael’s parents. The Blanks recount their for senior citizens to take the course too. son’s tragic story as the entire room sits in silence and “In Control was a great experience and showed me fear. Chills run up and down people’s spines and some a lot about driving that I know I could not learn anyeven shed a few tears. Parents sit terrified for their where else safely” said junior Lauren Demarco. “It was children, while the juniors vow never to speed again. fun yet educational and I would definitely recommend For almost 20 years, the Blanks have been tragically it to all drivers.