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Survive the Drive gets mixed reviews

By Nahuel Fefer
Published: June 2010

The recent safe driving presentation, Survive the Drive, has received mixed responses from students who attended it. Survive the Drive founder Bob Green spoke to junior and senior classes about the importance of safe driving on May 24. Survive the Drive is an organization devoted to making apparent to teens the need for safer driving, providing risk-awareness, and delivering safe-driving presentations to schools in the northeast.

Senior Dave Paddock began organizing the presentation shortly after meeting Green at the Skip Barber Racing School (SBRS) in October of last year. When not delivering Survive the Drive seminars, Green, who used to be a racecar driver, works full time at SBRS teaching students how to drive high performance cars in a track environment.

South’s commitment to safe student driving has led the school to ask many groups to give similar presentations over the years. Green’s seminar focused mainly on the dangers of “Driving while Oblivious, that is driving while talking, texting, reading, or engaging in other activities. Green emphasized that not only are there rarely true accidents–only crashes–but that these incidents are all caused by human error. As he noted, “Cars aren’t smart enough to crash themselves.

No matter how necessary these warnings are, however, they often raise the question of what the best way to convey this important and often tragic message to high school students is.

As a teacher at one of the largest racing schools in the world, Paddock felt that Green was clearly qualified to deliver the presentation.

“I wanted him to speak here because he made a significant impression on me at Skip Barber and what he had to say and his presentation was a little different [than most safe driving seminars].

In a slight deviation from recent trends, Green tried to convey his message not through facts and figures or through emotional testimony but through his noticeable attempts to frighten students.

He did this by showing slightly graphic photographs, and by producing large amounts of sound without warning, either with his voice or by throwing things on the floor in an attempt to startle students.

Senior Matt Ma felt that Green’s message was important and his presentation adequate.

“It conveyed the message effectively due to his use of those graphic images, Ma said. “People tell us to drive safely all the time but those examples he showed gave us a clear picture of what could happen.

Not all students were impressed by the presentation, however. Junior Alissa Sage, for instance, disagreed with Ma.
“I do not believe the message was conveyed effectively. In fact, I couldn’t really tell you what message he was even trying to convey, Sage said. “Running around the stage and throwing around a Styrofoam head with a helmet attached to it did not have any effect on me.

Other students were unimpressed with the presentation for different reasons. Senior Ben Weissman noted that, “the whole presentation seemed kind of vague and general; there needed to be more graphic images and specific stories with details.

Many students felt that presentations of personal stories, such as the Mothers Against Drunk Driving presentation last year, are more effective in delivering a resounding message to young drivers.

“It needed to be a more emotionally-charged presentation but instead was just a ‘Ëœdon’t be a stupid driver’ speech, Weissman said. “It wasn’t memorable enough to have any effect on me.

Paddock believes that these seminars need to continue and be presented in different ways to appeal to different students.

“Some people ask me, why did you have to recommend this guy? People say we have a driving program every year, why? Paddock said. “As soon as people stop making mistakes that young drivers make, these presentations can stop.

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