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La Crosse hospital trains teens to control cars

It's one of those milestones in life: on your sixteenth birthday, you get that much-anticipated driver's license. With it, comes mobility and freedom.

Unfortunately, too many teenagers don't understand that responsibility comes with freedom, mobility and a driver's license. Irresponsible, untrained drivers are behind so many car accidents that result in injuries and fatalities, according to a report by WXOW-TV of La Crosse.

That's why Gundersen Lutheran each year offers its free Teen Car Control Clinic. It's open to teenage drivers ages 15 to 19, as long as they have a driver's license or learner's permit.

"We're bringing in teen drivers and teaching them defensive driving, accident avoidance-type techniques in a very controlled setting," said a spokesperson for Gundersen Lutheran's trauma unit.

While teens are typically thrilled to get their permits and licenses -- "it was awesome," one teen told the TV station -- their parents are often less than ecstatic.

As we wrote in this space last week, while car accidents are killing fewer teenagers today than in the past, car crashes are still a top cause of deaths among the young.

That's why concerned parents do much more than hand their car keys to their kids. Some take them to driving clinics such as the one at Gundersen Lutheran.

One father who took his daughter to the clinic said there were a number of good reasons to go.

"The main reason was, it's good to have the person push the vehicle a little bit beyond the normal so when you hit those emergency situations you can react properly."

He said that helping his daughter learn how to handle the car in unusual or emergency situations will help keep her safe.

"But I think you're gonna worry no matter what," he added.

Source: WXOW: "Car Control Clinic for Teens," April 22, 2012

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