Students take the wheel in safety program

By Bill Yoder

NASCAR driver Kyle Petty visited students at both Jonesboro and Lovejoy High schools the week before the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 on Oct. 26 to launch the Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 safe driving program.

Students were encouraged to register on the Web site www.gp.com/racing which guides the new drivers through safety practices. Students keep mileage logs where they in turn are selected to participate in actual driving emergency reaction tests to learn how to respond defensively while keeping the car in control.

The three tests performed by students included learning how to control a car when it skids out of its normal path on wet pavement. Another test challenges their eye and braking foot coordination on a panic stop without locking the brakes that can make a car lose steering control.

And finally they test the students' reaction to avoid an object at high speed and bring the car to a safe and controlled stop.

This past Tuesday, Lovejoy students practiced these maneuvers in the morning with the Richard Petty Driving school while the Jonesboro students handled the steering wheels in the afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the open media parking lot.