The Ford Driving Skills for Life program travels around the country, and visited high school students in Hollidaysburg on Tuesday to remind those who are about the start driving the dangers that could lie ahead.
“We try to have some humor and some fun in it while also imparting the idea that driving is a serious process,” Mike Speck, Lead Facilitator of Ford Driving Skills for Life program said.
Speck joined the program when it started back in 2003. As a former NASCAR driver and coach, he uses his experience to remind young people about good and bad driving habits.
“The most important thing is the decision making process, not necessarily deciding whether or not to go left or right, but more deciding how it is that they’re going to choose to drive the vehicle,” he said.
One of the topics in the presentation was impaired driving. Mike Rawlins, a Social Studies teacher at Hollidaysburg High School, volunteered to test out what’s call “the drunk suit.”
“It felt like you were…I’m intoxicated. It really did,” Rawkins said.
The combination of ankle and arm weights, plus goggles that blur and disrupt your vision, simulates the physical symptoms of drinking alcohol to whoever is wearing the suit.
“They get to see me, laugh a little bit, but also think a little bit about what they’re doing before they do it. That’s the important part,” Rawlins said.
The Hollidaysburg High School community lost two senior students in car accidents two years in a row. The school’s principal, Maureen Letcher, said the program helps students become more informed before they get behind the wheel and possibly put themselves in a dangerous situation.
“They’re not saying that you’re a bad driver. They’re not saying that you’re not a confident driver. You’re just an inexperienced driver because of your age,” Letcher said.
Anyone interested in taking the safe driving course or signing the safe driving pledge can visit the Stucky Ford dealership in Hollidaysburg.