Volume 92, Issue 23

Thursday, October 15, 1998

talk it out


Safe driving tips from the pros

By Julianne Kaplan
Gazette Writer

The Labatt Road Scholarship, otherwise known as the hands-on, heads-up driver's challenge, is coming to London this weekend.

The LRS, which will take place at Western's Springett parking lot, is a nationally-acclaimed driver training program which travels across Canada every fall to teach young people valuable driving techniques to prevent impaired driving.

The LRS will be on campus today and Friday and it is working in conjunction with the University Students' Council's alcohol awareness days. A responsible drinking and driving video will be shown and a temporary tattoo parlour will be set up in CentreSpot, as well as at the Wave tonight and The Spoke on Friday night.

Melissa Cousineau, USC VP-student affairs, said the USC is trying to promote the message of drinking responsibly and the LRS is a fun and interesting way to do it.

The driver's challenge has been travelling across Canada since 1988, with the help of a team of five professional race car drivers such as Ross Bentley, who has been a race car driver for over 20 years. Bentley said the main goal is to teach the responsible use of alcohol.

Bentley also noted there is a different attitude today than 10 years ago regarding drinking and driving among young people.

Each session lasts for three hours, in which participants receive hands-on practice of defensive driving skills – including efficient brake control, collision avoidance and skid control, as well as the proper use of anti-lock brake systems.

The main idea of the program is the "one-second cure," which is a combination of a number of basic driving tips, which add up to one more second of reaction time, Bentley said.

"One more second to react means 80 per cent of accidents can be avoided."

The main sponsor of the event is Labatt Breweries, who are promoting drunk driving awareness and the responsible use of their product, Bentley said.

Cars for participants are supplied by Chrysler Canada. One person in each session will have the opportunity to drive a $100,000 Dodge Viper with chief instructor Ross Bentley, who is also an Indy car and World Sports car driver.

Sessions will be held each day at 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m and 2:30 p.m.. Students are asked to register for these sessions by calling 1-800-544-4405, Bentley said.

Drivers must be 19 years of age and hold a valid driver's licence. The LRS will challenge students to improve their performance and do things they never believed they could do, Bentley said.

There are numerous opportunities to win prizes, including a Labatt driver's jacket, a $1,000 credit at the BookStore and a Compaq computer, he added.

To Contact The News Department: gazette.news@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998