Teen drivers take part in ‘Street Survival’ program

Student Tanner Curley holds onto the steering wheel as he drives with instructor Alan Coats in State College, Pa., Friday, Feb. 27 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Thirteen teens took part in a driving school Sunday designed to expose young drivers to extreme condition.

According to the Tire Rack Street Survival program, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 16 to 19.

The program works to give teen drivers more experience in hopes of keeping them safe when behind the wheel. Instructors teach the young drivers to control their cars while going around a course set up at Fifth Third Ballpark.

“Because we force them to do things that they hae never done before, they understand that feeling. Here is an example, we did an exercise where we had them run the car up to 40 mph and slam on the brakes as hard as they could. These kids have never felt that,” Tire Rack Street Survival chief driving instructor Terry Schieble said. “When kids understand what the limit of their car is, they don’t approach that. We’re going to save their lives.”

Students said they walked away more confident after the course that instructors say pushes the cars and comfort levels of students.

“I thought it was really great. I learned so much about how my car can perform under extreme circumstances and how I can better adapt to that,” 16-year-old Aidan Donnelly said.