BRAKES: Defensive Driving School

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It’s five o’clock on a Saturday night and you are headed to the mall with your friends. The traffic isn’t too bad. You’re 16 years old, a newly licensed driver and you are very excited to be out with your friends. The next thing you know: BOOM!   You’ve been in a wreck.

Do you know what to do if you're in a wreck? What if this happened to your teenage driver? Do they know what to do in a wreck?

About 90% of teenage drivers will be in a crash during their teenage years, and that means they can be in anything from a fender bender to something much, much worse. There is something, however, that can help teen drivers be more aware and prepared for the event of a crash.

Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe otherwise known as B.R.A.K.E.S. is a defensive driving school for teenagers aged 15 to 19.

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Established by Doug Herbert in memory of his sons Jon and James, who were killed in a car accident,  B.R.A.K.E.S. is dedicated to saving young lives. Herbert originally started the school to teach the friends of his sons safer driving tips. That plan ended up going national. There are currently about 35 B.R.A.K.E.S. schools being taught per year and each school has 144 spots open for enrollment.

At the Memphis International Raceway, Clay Millican hosts one of the 35 different B.R.A.K.E.S. schools across the country. Millican has been racing since he was 15 years old, so with about 37 years of experience, he wants to share his knowledge through this defensive driving school. Millican knows that being a drag racer has helped him when it comes to being a part of B.R.A.K.E.S. with Doug Herbert, “For sure it does. Being a professional race car driver, I know what it’s like for a car to be out of control. It also helps with promoting B.R.A.K.E.S. in a bigger way.”

Millican got started with B.R.A.K.E.S. by helping with fundraising through Public Service Announcements. It was a little later that he started hosting a school in Millington, Tennessee at the Memphis International Raceway. Allen Johnson of Greenville, Tennessee, a fellow racer, funded the first two years of B.R.A.K.E.S. with Doug Herbert in Millington; he also funded the B.R.A.K.E.S. driving school held on October 20th and 21st in 2018 and he is funding the next four years too. Millican explained that Johnson’s donation means that, “we don’t have to be continuously raising funds here, locally.” Johnson also does B.R.A.K.E.S. in Greenville, Tennessee.

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When talking to teenagers that have been through the B.R.A.K.E.S. school, they’ve mentioned how much fun that they had and everything they’ve learned. Katijane Shoffner participated in the 2018 school, “The school was a lot of fun. We learned what to do in different situations. I hit some black ice causing me to drift, but because I went to B.R.A.K.E.S. I was able to stay on the road.  It really give me the confidence to handle almost any situation.” Janet Hayes is a parent that had two of her sons go through the program; she recommends that all teenagers go through it, “B.R.A.K.E.S. was one of the most awesome programs I have been associated with for teenagers. It was very informative and educational for both the kids and us parents. As far as the school goes, it’s not just teaching the kids how to drive but teaching them to be defensive drivers. It helps them be aware of situations that could possibly happen that they don’t normally come in contact within the normal driver's education courses.”  It is required that a parent goes to the school with the kids, and the parent has to do the same driving experiences that their son or daughter does.

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So why should teen drivers enroll in a B.R.A.K.E.S. with Doug Herbert defensive driving school? B.R.A.K.E.S. is a traveling driving school that allows teenagers to get free, hands-on experience. Millican explained, “Pure and simple we’re making more aware drivers. We use real-world distractions in a controlled setting,” with trained professionals near-by. Millican told us “it is a proven fact that kids who have been through B.R.A.K.E.S. are 64% less likely to be in a crash.” The ultimate goal of B.R.A.K.E.S. is to keep any parent from getting the terrible news that their child has been in a crash or worse.
To learn more and enroll in a B.R.A.K.E.S. with Doug Herbert defensive driving school visit https://putonthebrakes.org/shop. Classes are free to all, but B.R.A.K.E.S. does require a $99 refundable deposit to secure your reservation. Schools are planned around the racing schedules of both the sponsors, the location, and B.R.A.K.E.S. itself. Parents are required to attend the school along with their teen driver. The Memphis  B.R.A.K.E.S. with Doug Herbert defensive driving school hosted by Clay Millican will take place in 2019 on October 26th-27th

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