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Teen drivers learn how to handle road obstacles at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Putting young drivers to the test
Posted at 6:56 PM, Dec 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-03 08:58:26-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Driver's Edge wrapped up its last real-life training for the year on Sunday morning. Hundreds of young drivers were put to the test maneuvering around traffic cones, panic breaking techniques, and driving on wet roads at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Learning how to deal with the unexpected sounds a bit challenging especially when you're new on the road.

"We're responsible for our actions on the road," said Rebecca Jimenez. She started driving three months ago.

Rebecca Jimenez and Cole Jarrard are two out of nearly 600 teen drivers getting real life experience this weekend.

Water was added to the course to represent inclement weather.

The goal behind the defensive instruction on skid control was simple: teen drivers had to get the car through cones after driving about 30 miles per hour.

"All you're doing is looking at those green cones and stirring right between them," said Driver’s Edge instructor Leo Maia to Rebecca.

"The most important thing is to pay attention, it's not because you're a young driver it's because you're a new driver," said Maia.

After the first try, Rebecca and Cole were almost able to control the direction of the car.

"After seeing the experts testing out the car and all of that, I got more used to how skidding works," said Jimenez.

"I learned about the consequences of different actions while you're driving," said Jarrard.

Instructor Mia encouraged both teens to think quick without panicking.

“It only takes a few seconds for something really awful to start going wrong," said Maia.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that vehicle crashes are high between drivers aged 16 to 21.

"It's designed to put kids in situations out here so when they face them out in the real world they'll know how to deal with it," said Trooper J. Buratczuk.

Parents who watched their teens behind the wheel feel some peace of mind.

"Learning real skills that they can take out onto the roadways is invaluable," said Hoyt, Cole’s father.

"As a parent I want her to learn defensive skills," said Jose, Rebecca’s father.

Driver’s Edge hopes their skills can help keep more young drivers alive while on the road.