a circle of students

Kenora OPP Const. Ronni Grosenick speaks to a group of students from Beaver Brae Secondary School on the importance of avoiding risky driving behaviour on the road. MARC LAGACE/Daily Miner and News

Do you know the best way to counteract drowsiness when driving on a long road trip? How about all the new road rules and higher fines included in Bill 31, which came into effect province-wide Sept. 1?

Students at Beaver Brae Secondary School may just be the best-educated drivers on the road after participating in The Sweet Life Roadshow, which came to Kenora as part of a tour through Northwestern Ontario.

The program was created by Anne Marie Hayes, who started the non-profit corporation Teens Learn To Drive when she learned that her daughter’s life expectancy was 16 years shorter, simply because of the higher risks associated with driving as a teenager.

“Car crashes are the number one cause of death and injury to young adults and teenagers,” said Hayes, who’s also the author of the book “3 Keys for Keeping Your Teen Alive: Lessons for Surviving the First Year of Driving.”

The interactive presentation educates novice drivers on the risks not just associated with driving, but also safety tips for sharing the road with semi-trucks, road plows and ATVs — an especially important topic given the new ATVs bylaws passed by Kenora city councillors.

Beaver Brae principal Tracey Benoit was thrilled to find out the program was touring through Northwestern Ontario.

“When I first heard about it from Anne Marie, I jumped on the opportunity right away,” she said.

“I went onto the site and took a look at the video and knew immediately that the kids would be engaged and it would be something of value.” Some of the guests on hand to educate the young drivers included Kenora OPP Const. Ronnie Grosenick, Tom Marinis from the Ministry of Transportation, and Jerry Brown from Kriska Transport, a Road Knight with the Ontario Transportation Authority who spoke to the students about driving safely in truckers’ blind spots.

Hayes’ program goes beyond what’s covered in driver education courses by focusing on non-traditional messages and delivering them in a positive light. The presentation at Beaver Brae was broken into 10 different stations set up inside the gym, which included a trivia game show, games to challenge the notion of multitasking behind the wheel, and plenty of opportunities for the students to be active and ask questions.

“It’s not the traditional messages,” said Hayes, referring to other buckle-up and drive sober campaigns. “It’s the other ones that they need to know to stay safe.”

Source: Kenora Daily Miner and News