Accident Avoidance Workshops go beyond Drivers Ed
by Geoff Folsom
October 17, 2012 02:59 AM | 2071 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Accident Avoidance Workshops at local schools are intended to show drivers how to navigate wet conditions, get through parking lots, and handle other road hazards and conditions. Jeffrey ‘Homer’ Stillwell said his workshops help young motorists in ways traditional drivers education courses do not. Above: Students and adults at a recent workshop. <br> Photo special to the MDJ
Accident Avoidance Workshops at local schools are intended to show drivers how to navigate wet conditions, get through parking lots, and handle other road hazards and conditions. Jeffrey ‘Homer’ Stillwell said his workshops help young motorists in ways traditional drivers education courses do not. Above: Students and adults at a recent workshop.
Photo special to the MDJ
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EAST COBB — Jeffrey “Homer” Stillwell said his Accident Avoidance Workshops help young motorists in ways that traditional drivers education can’t.

While Drivers Ed shows students how to drive under normal driving conditions, Stillwell, master instructor with the Marietta-based workshops, said he teaches how to drive under emergency conditions.

“Drivers Ed doesn’t do it, they’re not trained for it, they’re not even certified for it,” Stillwell said. “They can’t even touch it, so we pick up where they left off.”

Stillwell’s workshops are intended to show drivers how to navigate wet conditions as well as getting through parking lots, and showing them how to avoid overcorrecting when they drive partly off the road. It features a slalom course, as well as teaching them to use emergency brakes in both wet and dry conditions.

Stillwell said that the classes reduce teen drivers’ chances of being injured in a collision by 75 percent, while providing a discount to both teens and parents on auto insurance.

While he sometimes offers classes at locations like the Atlanta Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, where he is the track announcer, Stillwell makes it available at a discount to a number of high schools. The regular price of the class is $329, but he allows students and one parent to take it for $225 and $265 for a student and both parents.

“We’ve got most, if not all of the schools, in Cobb County,” Stillwell said.

Each workshop takes place over three days. The first day is reserved for a three-hour classroom session, while students must then take a five-hour outdoor driving session for five hours at some point over the workshop’s final two days.

Upcoming Accident Avoidance Workshops will be held Nov. 1, 3 and 4 and again March 21, 23 and 24 at Kell High School; Nov. 8, 10 and 11 at Allatoona High School; Dec. 4, 8 and 9 and again Jan. 30 and Feb. 2 and 3 at Walton High School; Dec. 27, 29 and 30 and again Jan. 22, 26 and 27 at Kennesaw Mountain High School and Feb 28 and March 2 and 3 at Wheeler High School. Workshops will be held later in 2013 at Lassiter, Osborne and North Cobb high schools.

Pete Mistr with Walton’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association said the schools also use the workshops for fundraisers. PTSAs get $10 per student for the first 10 students to sign up, $20 for each of the second 10 students, $30 per student for the third 10 students and $40 for each of the fourth 10 students, meaning they could raise up to $1,000 per event if they bring in 40 students.

Mistr said Walton has had the most students take the workshops of any school in Georgia. He said the workshops are a natural extension of the quality education students receive there.

“People come to the Walton school district so they can get a good education for their kids, so you have a receptive audience,” he said. “For something that will help the kids, it’s a perfect place to do this.”
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