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'Sometimes, people can't learn everything necessary to know just by driving on the road. There is no precise or safe way to practice situations like what to do if someone's brakes cut out on the highway, or if the engine fails in the middle of nowhere.'

If you've ever taken Driver's Ed, you'll most likely hate it. Driver's Ed is like an extra boring block period, but after school. The classes are three hours of a constant stream of information, some of which may already be known. In fact, some people hate it so much that they recommend their peers not take it. This can hurt the skill and safety of teenage drivers. New drivers not receiving training makes the road dangerous for everyone else. Driver's Ed should be an absolute necessity for new drivers. Not only does the class make drivers better, but it could save lives.Tate Ericson

Many young Oregonians take Driver's Ed through the Oregon Driver Education Center (ODEC). In my case, the classroom section was once a week for three hours, with additional homework between sessions. What in the world could you learn about driving while sitting in a classroom? Surprisingly, a ton.

The class taught me important knowledge about cars and skills needed to operate it. People are taught how to deal with dangerous situations that could happen to anyone. Sometimes, people can't learn everything necessary to know just by driving on the road. There is no precise or safe way to practice situations like what to do if someone's brakes cut out on the highway, or if the engine fails in the middle of nowhere. The classroom is the best place to gain this information, which is why it's an unexpectedly important

part of learning to drive safely.

The driving section is the other core part of Driver's Ed. For me, the driving portion was once every two weeks for two hours. One of those hours was spent behind the wheel, the other observing another student driver. This is where you practice skills learned from the six hours of classroom experience you had. Most of the drive consists of day-to-day driving skills crucial to the road such as proper starting, stopping, turning, and use of all the car's weird dials and knobs. Students practice changing lanes, passing, and controlling speed on the freeway. Then it's time to observe peers so you can learn from their mistakes, as they did from yours. The instructor gives instructions and tips, then at the end scores you on skills so you know what to practice when you get home. This helps students prepare for the final test.

In my opinion, you should at least take a driving-only course. Many private, certified driving courses are road-only. I would prefer everyone take the full ODEC course. If you tell the DMV you've had at least 100 hours of behind-the-wheel practice, that's all you need to take the DMV driving test. But let's be honest, this requirement is too easy to lie about, which makes it too easy to get your license. Driving supervised for just 15 minutes in a DMV test isn't as hard as it's made out to be. Drivers simply need more knowledge and practice to be successful drivers. If you wish to take a course in Wilsonville or another city close by, contact ODEC at 503-581-3783.

Tate Ericson is a junior at Wilsonville High School.

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