Calling All Teens!

by Laura Parmer-Lohan

Calling all teens! Calling all teens! Sign up today and “hit the gas hard, accelerate and then slam the brakes!” What parent in their right mind would allow their newly minted driving teenage son take a driving clinic that encouraged them to take such enormous risks? This one.

For those of us with kids, the day the driver’s permit is issued is burdened with a mix of anticipation and angst. And for good reason, the Centers for Disease Control reports that in 2020, car accidents were the number one cause of death for teens—every day about eight teens lost their lives. Teenage boys are three times as likely to die in a car accident than their counterparts.

In 2018, my eldest son, Bradley had his license for only a few weeks when he participated in the Audi Club Golden Gate Chapter South Bay Teen Driving Clinic.

I was a nervous nellie. Taking place in the parking lot of a local community college, I watched the students as they accelerated and hit the brake, run a slalom at a high rate of speed, accelerate and swerve to avoid an invisible stationary obstacle.

All day long I could hear the squealing of tires and witnessed an occasional spin out. It was breathtaking and anxiety inducing. And then the moment arrived, I climbed into the passenger seat while my son put all his new skills together in the combined exercise. I am delighted to report that not only am I still alive, but my confidence in Bradley’s ability has grown so much I look to him to give me feedback and insights into safe driving practices. He serves as the Motor Vehicle Safe Handling Practices Director for our household.

And this past weekend, he served as a driving instructor at the Audi Club Golden Gate Chapter North Bay Teen Driving Clinic held at Solano Community College. He wanted to be on hand to support his younger brother, Gregory, who had signed up for the clinic.

This time, my continuous mom-worry levels were undetectable as I watched Gregory maneuver in between the cones at a high rate of speed and brake in time. I felt enormous gratitude for the Audi Club volunteers who put the event together and worked tirelessly to ensure the teens had a great time and, more importantly, gained respect for the power they yield behind the wheel.

Imagine if every new driver had access to this program, the CDC could report a precipitous decline in teen deaths due to auto accidents. What a day that would be.

Thank you, Audi Club Golden Gate Chapter for making a difference.