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Belgrade teens take driving program for a spin

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Oct 31 2012 06:36:05 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 31 2012 08:56:31 PM MDT
BELGRADE, Mont. -

Folks with Ford's Driving Skills for life want to change the way teens look at driving and in some cases, the way they drive.

"If we can reach them mentally, make them think about what it is that they choose to do in the car, what they choose to do before they drive, then we've succeeded," says Ford Driving Skills for Life Program Lead Driving Instructor and Lead Facilitator Mike Speck.

And what better way than to put them behind the wheel?

"It's fun for them and through fun, it's a conduit to their brain.  We can hopefully break through some of those walls and let them feel comfortable in learning," says Speck.

Each drill is designed for some degree of failure, so students can see how their decisions effect their driving, like the texting and driving exercise.

"The goal is to try to get them to sensory overload so, we have them try to text the message and maintain the same speed and try not to hit any of the cones.  No one that we've ever put through the drill has ever been able to do all three," says Speck.

Student drivers also got the chance to take a car for a spin wearing fatal vision goggles- simulating what it's like to be drunk.

I gave the vehicle handling drill a shot to find out just how tough it is to recover from a drift and learned it's important to focus on the road, to look ahead and to steer the direction I want to go, not on the cars around me.

We talked to some students who say they'll think twice the next time they get behind the wheel.

"It was scary.  The drifting one and being drunk just really shows how different things can happen," says Belgrade High School student Hayley Crow.

Belgrade High student Keldon Lamb says the texting and driving drill was the toughest one for him.

"I don't usually text but I won't look at my phone at all because sometimes I change music on there but I won't look at my phone at all because it's really dangerous," says Lamb.

Students say, folks with the Ford program definitely made learning easier for them.

"I didn't know it was going to be fun, like that fun," says Belgrade High School student Kaleb Foley.