Taking the boring out of driver’s education: Group of teens jazz up safety, TikTok style

A group of students conduct a seat belt observation test at New Baltimore Anchor Bay High School. Contributed photo (Jennifer Dixon)

Classroom instruction in driver’s training talks about the necessary points and is conducted by hard-working and well-meaning teachers, but to many teens on the cusp of getting their license, it can still feel like a cure for insomnia, at times.

It’s not easy for teens to stay focused during the sessions, and thus, very easy to miss out on learning the critical driving rules and regulations, which is why a group of students at a Michigan high school hope they are coming up with a good alternative to get the message of safe driving out.

The students, who are part of a group called the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), are using social media sites such as TikTok, Facebook and Instagram to post acted-out videos to convey messages about driving safety.

“Kids want something fun, so why not have a fun TikTok video that they are watching?” said Jennifer Dixon, a medical education instructor at New Baltimore Anchor Bay High School and a HOSA adviser. “A person lecturing in driver’s ed and talking over and and over -- with kids, it’s in one ear and out the other. We’re not trying to make it so depressing for kids. (We want) to make it fun while trying to also get the message out.”

One video shows students mimicking a crash while on wheelchairs in the hallway, while another has them going around asking various true or false questions to faculty about driving facts.

The videos are reaching 700 to 2,000 viewers, and it’s not just teens around the school watching and learning tidbits.

Dixon said adults in the community have also left comments on the videos, saying they learned something, too.

In particular, Dixon said, people have admitted they didn’t know it’s not OK to get behind the wheel if taking prescription drugs or inhaling marijuana, even if it’s taken for medical reasons.

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