(Photos: Kelly Roche/QEW South Post)
BY KELLY ROCHE
Blind spots, wide turns, flat tires, seatbelts, airbags, snowplows, drinking, drowsiness, pedestrians, gas, cyclists, steering, mirrors.
“It’s kind of overwhelming, how many things you have to pay attention to,” said Adriana Bajai, 15.
The Grade 10 student at Loyola Catholic Secondary School was taking part in the Sweet Life Road Show on Thursday.
Sponsored by CAA, the mobile workshops strategically target students before they’re old enough to get behind the wheel.
“We have 11 stations which highlight the biggest risks to youth, and help them understand what the risk is, and how they can stay safe,” said Teens Learn to Drive president Anne Marie Hayes.
Nearly 23 per cent of motor vehicle fatalities were 15-to-24 year olds in 2010, according to Transport Canada, even though this age group makes up only 13 per cent of the Canadian population.
Tasia Lewis said she turns 16 in January and has tried driving once, in a parking lot.
“It’s scary,” said Lewis.
Melissa Marino agreed.
“I thought it was going to be really easy,” said Marino.
“It looks easy.”
Peel Regional Police Const. Murray Wood said many young drivers aren’t aware of the risks.
“It’s good information to know, especially if they get a licence when they’re older or if they borrow a car,” or rent a vehicle, said Wood.
The top concern with young drivers is speeding, he said, and driving too fast when roads are wet.
Up next: Too many passengers, not enough seatbelts.
“Given the cost of cars, they’re buying or obtaining the cheapest car they can find,” said Wood.
“The tires might not be in great condition,” and seatbelts “are definitely an issue, especially if they’re the lunchtime driver driving everybody out to McDonald’s and they cram seven kids in,” said Wood.
“Occasionally, I’ve seen it where kids are in the trunk of a car as well.”
There were no kids in the trunk of the OPP’s rollover simulator, where members of the Port Credit detachment showed teens what happens to people and objects when a vehicle rotates.
The message was sent.
Among other mental notes, Amanda Williams said she didn’t realize how often drivers should check mirrors.
“Definitely, when I start, I know I’ll be very, very nervous,” said Williams.
She acknowledged she has much to learn.
“We’re really young, we have no idea what we’re doing. We’re just kind of going based off of what our parents are telling us to do when we’re driving,” said Williams.
“So I hope what they’re telling us is right.”
Grade 11 student Mateusz Brzezinksi is 16 and said he doesn’t have his licence yet since he mostly takes the bus and rides his bike.
Nonetheless, the information was useful
“These things are really relevant ’cause you hear about accidents,” Brzezinksi said.
Students intentionally stumbled upon a photo booth, which was apparently the best part of the day for some, who won’t be named.