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Pilot program offers new take on teen driving

Program acknowledges that driver instruction can be a left-brain/right-brain experience.

November 17, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For some left brain-thinking parents, communicating about the dos and don’ts of driving with their teens may require them to get a little more creative.

John Marshall, founder of Right On Programs in Glendale, has launched a program to help parents and teens better communicate about the fundamentals of driving, including mental games and physical exercises, including Tai Chi.

“It’s a whole new way of understanding each other,” he said, adding that he hopes the free program will reduce the number of teen-involved collisions.

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The program, State of Balance: Keeping Teens Alive with 2 Brains 2 Drive, launches Saturday.

The six-hour course is aimed at preventing distracted driving and speeding, and eliminating drinking while driving. The topic of better driving can often be a source of strain for teens and parents, but Marshall said that’s mostly due to their lack of understanding of each other.

Parental warnings or advice about driving can be stressful for teens, he said, while a teen’s anxious response can be perceived as being rebellious.

When thinking about experiences, Marshall said teens use the right side of their brain, which tunes into feelings, while parents use the more logical left brain.

Parent Sally Schulkai and her 17-year-old son, Brandon, who recently obtained his driver’s permit, signed up for the program in an effort to further his driving education.

“I want him to become a better driver,” Sally Schulkai said.

To keep her son’s eyes focused on the road, Schulkai said she also disabled the texting capabilities on his cell phone.

“I don’t want him to be texting while driving,” she said.

Teens spend most days glued to computer monitors or TV screens, which Marshall said alters their sense of reality.

“They are addicted to this virtual reality,” he said.

When teens must face real-world scenarios, he said, they often cannot adapt and are in a constant state of distraction. That lack of concentration can lead to driving collisions, Marshall said.

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DETAILS

What: Right On Programs’ State of Balance: Keeping Teens Alive with 2 Brains 2 Drive seminar

Where: 401 S. Glenoaks Blvd. Suite 201 in Burbank

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact: To make a reservation, call (818) 843-7375. Space is limited. For more details, visit rightonprograms.org.
 
 

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