AMA Insider Spring 2018 / Over 55 - Page 42

New Driver Special Keys to success a guide to getting new drivers on the road H anding the keys to your teen: For you, it’s a jumbled mix of excitement, pride—and worry. For her, it’s freedom and a rite of passage into adulthood. “I couldn’t wait to get my licence!” says Brynn Trofimuk, reflecting on her driving journey. “I lived on an acreage outside of Edmonton, so I was always on quads and dirt bikes growing up,” she says. “I was also a competitive gym- nast and I didn’t want to wait for my mom or take the bus to get to practice.” Like many teens, Trofimuk, now 20, counted down the days to her 14th birthday, when she could finally write her Class 7 learner’s test. But unlike some teens, she actually waited about six months before writing the test. “I wanted to study and make sure I was ready so I could get it right the first time, which I did.” Trofimuk’s prep time appears to be the exception to the rule: “A lot of students try to write the test without even cracking the handbook—and 42 Spring 2018 AMA inSider they ultimately fail,” says Rick Lang of AMA Driver Education. AMA offers a range of classes at every step of the driving journey, from a two- hour learner’s prep course to the Ultimate Program with 20-hours of in-car training. “Five percent of driving is in the hands and feet,” Lang says. “The other 95 percent of driving takes place between the ears—which is where driver education comes in.” AMA Driver Education teaches hands-on decision- making to would-be drivers. Specially trained in-car instructors help students identify situations and teach them the best course of action to take—in real time behind the wheel. After hours of practice with the instructor and their parents or in-car coach, that driving decision-making becomes second nature. “Many people can master the five percent, but it’s the other 95 percent that makes a good driver,” Lang says. Trofimuk signed up for AMA Driver Education immediately after getting her Class 7 learner’s licence. “I wasn’t nervous behind the wheel, but I didn’t fully understand why you should do certain things,” she explains. Take lane changes, for instance. “I was terrible at them! I didn’t get how or why I should use my mirrors. Then one day, after several practice sessions, it just clicked. Parallel parking was also challenging. I wasn’t awful at it, but it took a lot of practice—and it paid off since I passed that part of my Class 5 road test on the first try.” She hasn’t looked back since. Trofimuk put her licence to good use on a cross-country road trip to New Brunswick with her mom to start her first year of university. She now drives daily and plans to take her Class 5 advanced road test this summer. For young drivers like her, the big- gest takeaway from driver education is confidence in their driving skills. “Our goal is to make sure students know how to drive properly,” Lang says. “So they become safe drivers for life.” By keLLie davenport