Local high school students learn safe driving techniques before homecoming

Local high school students learn safe driving techniques before homecoming

. - TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – A local high school is getting involved in National Teen Safe Driving Week, just before the arrival of their homecoming.

Start High School is hosting a series of lessons, presentation and activities to get their students on board with safe driving techniques to make sure everyone had a safe and fun weekend.

"94 percent of crashes occur because of our behaviors within our vehicles. Those behaviors can impact your lives and the lives of others," said Jamie Blazevich, traffic safety coordinator of ESC of Lake Erie West.

Blazevich helped Start High School create the lessons, and will aid in administering them to the students.

The majority of the lessons in the classroom will include ways to avoid distracted driving and the cognitive function behind why people tend to drive that way.

"The teens brains are alerted by reward, that dopamine that causes us to feel good. Behaviors like social media and texting trigger the brain's reward system. Once the teen brain links those behaviors to the reward system, it will continuously seek out those rewards. That's why they'll text and drive, check social media, because they want that feel-good reward in the brain," Blazevich said.

To curb this, these lessons are teaching students to place aromas and scents in their cars that will elicit the same response that texting would.

Blazevich said aromas such as citrus or peppermint releases serotonin and will work in this situation.

"Replacing the negative reward loop with a positive reward loop still releases the chemicals to make the brain feel good," said Blazevich.

ProMedica will bring a distracted driving simulator to the school on Thursday, where teens can truly see how impaired their driving is when they are faced with distractions in the vehicle.

Blazevich said she believes their goal from these lessons is simple and attainable.

"To bring awareness to our behaviors within the car and to decrease the motor vehicle fatalities within the age group of 15 to 18-year-olds," Blazevich said.

Toledo Public Schools is teaming up with Lucas County Traffic Safety and ProMedica to put the week together.

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