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Students Participate in Driving Competition

By John Shumar

While judges carefully scrutinize the scene, a compact Chevrolet Cavalier carefully moves backward in a serpentine motion between cones. The driver will be scored in three categories to test their safe driving ability.

“This is the first time Prince George has participated in this driving competition,” Lisa McDaniels said.

McDaniels is a member of the board of VADETS, and has been president of the board before.

The Virginia Association for Driver Education and Traffic Safety(VADETS) 28th Annual Safe Driving Contest will be conducted at John. B. Todd Stadium in Newport News on Saturday, April 27, 2013. Students who want to participate must be enrolled in a state approved driver education program or have completed a driver education program since January 1, 2012. Any completion of a driver education prior to this date renders a student ineligible.

“They base the number of contestants from each school on the school’s population,” McDaniels said. “Our high school can take two.”

Before these two students go to Newport News for the state level competition, they have to be chosen as contestants from Prince George.

“Mrs. Gilbert is holding the Prince George level competition on April 16, 2013, at 5:30 to see who will go on to the state competition,” McDaniels said.

The competition consists of three categories. Each category is worth 600 points. The first category is “Range Testing,” and will be held on a multiple-car-range. During the test, only the competing student and a range instructor guide is allowed in the car. The testing items include straight-line tracking, offset or lane changing, serpentine (forward and backward), diminishing roadway turnaround maneuver, and parallel parking. These are all timed, but this is only used to break ties.

“Some of the tasks will include parallel parking, diminishing roadway and emphasizes reference points,” McDaniels said.

The second portion of the competition showcases an on-road test that requires 30 minutes of driving around the City of Newport News. The competing student is accompanied by a member of the law enforcement community and a driver education instructor. The student will be evaluated on their on-road performance and steps taken after and before they drive.

Finally, each contestant will complete a 60 multiple choice knowledge test.

The vehicles used in the contest are all the same; a compact Chevrolet Cavalier. They also have the same perks, to include an automatic transmission and power steering.

The winner of this competition can win up to $1000 dollars.

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