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'Car Control Clinic' teaches teens safe driving

'Car Control Clinic' teaches teens safe driving

LA CRSOSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - One in three teen deaths are caused by motor vehicle accidents and to help prevent this number from growing, Gundersen's Trauma Services offered a free 'Teen Car Control Clinic' Sunday for licensed teens ages 16 to 19.

The car clinic in La Crosse provides teens with hands-on experience by giving them behind-the-wheel exercises and over 20 teens attended to get schooled on driving.

"A lot of accident avoidance, it's knowing what the limitations of your car are, what the limitations of your tires are," said Paul Hatlem, an instructor with the car clinic.

The teens start out in a classroom to learn the fundamentals and from there they go out in a controlled, safe area, to do some not-so-safe driving.

"The first go-around we do threshold breaking which is what we're doing right now, and then we're going to go into a Slalom course where they go around cones and they feel the weight transfer their vehicle, after that we'll go into an accident avoidance situation where you go down and you've got two lanes to pick from, lights will come on on one lane, you actually steer away from that as if those were break lights from a car that was stopping," Hatlem said.

Parents say having something like a car control clinic, is important for a few reasons.

"I don't know how many times as they're leaving the house we say be safe, dive safe, and they do but it's just that constant reminder that's helpful because they hear that in the back of their mind you know to make good decisions when they're out on their own and you're not sitting in the passenger seat next to them helping them along," said Dave Reineke, a parent who attended the event with his son.

And teens who participated, say they walked away with useful lessons.

"The car that I was using I could break a lot faster than I realized that I could you know you can stop a lot faster than at first you might think you can, and applying that to a real world situation could be very useful," said Wolfgang Reineke, a teen participant.

The car control clinic has been taking place in La Crosse for the past ten years.

There were 12 instructors during Sunday's events and they all have extensive training to know how the cars are handled.

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