'It's worth it': Teen drivers improve their skills with B.R.A.K.E.S. in Raleigh

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Sunday, July 17, 2022
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Dozens of teen drivers spent time at the North Carolina State Highway Patrol's training center over the weekend.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dozens of teen drivers spent time at the North Carolina State Highway Patrol's training center over the weekend.

Trained and experienced older drivers rode shotgun, supervising teen drivers as they executed simulated risky maneuvers. Training was organized by a non-profit called B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe.)

"We're teaching them how to come out of it alive, and not wind up on the other side of something they could have easily fixed," said Griffith Bean, a former B.R.A.K.E.S. student who now works as an instructor five years after his first lessons on the course.

The opportunity's appreciated by Max Langenbach, who got his license two weeks ago.

"It was pretty fun! Got to drift around," he said.

Students spent about 30 minutes on verbal instruction before entering cars on the course.

"Teen drivers are very novice drivers. They don't have a lot of time behind the wheel." said B.R.A.K.E.S. instructor Mike Baker. "So whenever they graduate their drivers ed program, they get that minimum of 60 hours, they come to us and we put them through some higher speed driving courses."

The B.R.A.K.E.S. program started when racing star Doug Herbert's two sons died in a 2008 car crash. He came up with the concept as a way to prevent similar tragedies.

"Don't jerk your wheel around, especially if you go off the road. Or if you're going into a skid, look where you want to go. Don't whip the wheel," Langenbach said.

Bean, who started driving go carts as a 5 year old, considered himself an experienced driver by the time he reached high school, But he remembers being challenged by the intensity of some of the B.R.A.K.E.S. drills.

"It was a tie between ABS and the skate control. ABS, a lot of people don't know what it is. They feel it, they slam on their brakes, they think their car is just falling apart. Actually it's your car helping you out, getting you out of a sticky situation so you don't hurt someone else or yourself," Bean said.

Langenbach's advice to other teens considering the B.R.A.K.E.S. training:

"Do it! Do it, it's worth it," he said.

For more information, go to B.R.A.K.E.S. website..