Teaching teens driving

Gray Hughes

Teaching teenagers how to drive can be a stressful experience — both for parents and teenagers alike.

The Boys and Girls Club in Hill City, though, is helping new drivers adjust to the road by offering its free driving tutorial once school starts again.

“This is a partnership between the Boys and Girls Club and UPS,” said Roni Prautzsch, unit director for the Boys and Girls Club in Hill City. “The UPS drivers teach the course.”

The course is very hands-on. Participants will do both group and solo activities and will even get to drive on the club’s driving simulator, which gives participants the experience of what it is like to drive under normal conditions, at night, distracted and even while intoxicated.

The program started a couple of years ago at the Boys and Girls Club, Prautzsch said, and the reception to it has been very good. The Boys and Girls Club plans on expanding the program to different Boys and Girls Clubs in the Black Hills.

To enhance the experience of participants, Prautzsch said the club likes to keep the groups at around 10 participants.

The program doesn’t just teach how to be a good driver. The program also teaches participants how to be a good passenger in a car.

The program is geared toward those around 14 years old and who just got their learners permits.

“It’s very informative,” Prautzsch said. “I’ve even learned things I didn’t know before.”

The goal, Prautzsch said, is to make the road as safe as possible for all those on it.

The sessions is typically just one four-hour day after school; however, there have been times when the club has offered two-hour sessions held over two days to accommodate those who might be involved in after school activities.

The club needs to have 100 kids participate in the program in order to receive grant funding.

Those who are interested in participating in the program should call the Boys and Girls Club at 605-574-2010. The club will let those who are interested know when the program is starting back up during the school year.

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