You protect your children as they grow up from all sorts of dangers and when they become teens, driving is now added to the list. Before handing over the keys, help by educating them about automotive safety and distracted driving. Need help? An automotive expert and small business owner is in the Chandler neighborhood and happy to help.
For several years, Frank Leutz, COO of Desert Car Care of Chandler, has provided automotive clinics for teens and women. They are available about once a quarter or sooner if needed. Various organizations and groups come to the automotive shop to learn more about simple automotive maintenance, vehicle safety, what to do in case of an emergency and safe driving practices.
Recently, ten teens from various Chandler high schools, who are members of the Cholla Girl Scouts of Chandler, scheduled a teen clinic with the goal to earn their automotive badge. To start the fun, Frank handed out festive orange safety gloves, then led an interactive workshop to teach basic car maintenance. The girls learned how to check the oil, tires, battery, and what to do in case of an emergency. Frank always ends his teen clinics with an emphasis on safe driving practices, particularly distracted driving.
He pointed out a dedicated website on teen driving that has been created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It shares that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. With inexperienced drivers behind the wheel, it is understandable, yet many can be prevented through education and awareness. Did you know that one in three teens who text say they have done so while driving? Is your teen one of them? Just the activity of dialing a phone number increases teen’s risk of crashing by six times, and texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times! Any distraction that takes the focus off driving reduces one’s ability to react to a road hazard, incident, or bad weather.
Frank talked about why it is important to keep both hands on the steering wheel (an unforgotten safety skill), how to properly check the rearview and side mirrors, plus the lifesaving seat belts. Then he reminded them that distracted driving is more than just phone activity. It includes activities such as eating or drinking, applying makeup, changing the radio station, riding with an unrestrained pet, and having their friends as passengers. Anything that takes your eyes off the road even for five seconds could cost them their lives.
Not something teens want to hear, yet according to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, they suggest not allowing teen drivers to drive with their friends. Just having one friend in the car makes a young driver 44 percent more likely to crash. In fact, having three or more passengers younger than age 21 has been associated with almost quadrupling a driver’s risk of being killed in a crash.
Some teens were accompanied to the event by their mothers, and he shared with them to not be afraid to set firm rules for driving. He and his wife did with their daughter, and she understood that it was because they loved her. And reminded the girls that their parents are strict because of their love for them, period. And with that said he congratulated them on the completion of their clinic and all passed to get their automotive badge!
Frank has a deep passion for educating his clients and the community on automotive care, so if you have a civic, neighborhood or business group that would like to schedule a car care clinic for first-time drivers, or a ladies car care clinic, please contact Susie Wong at Desert Car Care of Chandler at 480-420-3555 or schedule online at www.desertcarcare.com.