By Ronna Charles Branch
Here in Atlanta, school breaks have begun and summer is off to a hot start. This week’s traffic has been lighter and many newly licensed teens are taking to the road to celebrate summer with pools, parties and freedom. Woo Hoo! But, new drivers equipped with cell phones, iPods, friends and good times can spell danger on the road….
For most teens, getting behind the wheel means fun and freedom. But, driving is serious business. At UPS, each of our 100,000 drivers has gone through intensive training in order to keep them and the communities we serve safe.
Since the spring of 2009, UPS has been sharing our safe driver training with teens in a partnership with Boy & Girls Clubs of America, called UPS Road CodeSM. UPSRoad Code is a national four-session program that teaches safe driving techniques. The UPS Foundation has given Boys & Girls Clubs of America a three-year, $2 million grant to bring this program to teenagers across the U.S.
UPS employees volunteer their time and the expertise that comes with thousands of miles of road experience. The combination of UPS driving know-how along with state-of-the-art driving simulators gives new drivers an advantage.
We talked to Tiffany, a 16 year-old who attends Carver High School in Atlanta. She prepared for her summer break by participating in UPS Road Code. Here’s what she said about getting ready for the road:
Even though I am not a licensed driver yet, I know that the skills that I acquired during UPS Road Code have taught me how to keep myself and others safe on the road. Using the driving simulators was my favorite activity during the program. It definitely gave me a sense of what it’s like to be out on the road and to experience both the expected and unexpected challenges that may occur.
You have to be alert and pay attention to everything in order to be safe out there. The simulators gave me a full view of the road and that was pretty cool. While I couldn’t feel the rumble of the car, the simulators did a good job in helping me get a sense of all that happens. I believe the skills I learned during Road Code will help me be safer when it is me behind the wheel of an actual car. I also think there were things I could teach my peers or superiors or at least things to remind them about. Like, always buckle your seatbelt when you get into the car.
Simple, but until it becomes a habit, people forget . . . and we all know what can happen when you don’t wear your seatbelt.